EAST MANATEE -- Myah Moy represents the future of Braden River softball, but she is playing like there is no tomorrow.
The second baseman was one of five freshmen who started Tuesday night when the Pirates played host to North Port in a Class 7A-District 10 semifinal.
She reached base on all four of her at-bats with an RBI triple, double, single and walk and scored the game-ending run in the bottom of the fifth to clinch a 10-0 mercy-rule victory for Braden River (13-12).
"The last couple of games I wasn't doing so well and felt like I really needed to do this for the team, and I was able to come through," Moy said.
The victory means Braden River will be home against nemesis Lakewood Ranch on Thursday night for the district title. The teams split their regular season series, and the Pirates got the top seed via coin flip.
Along with the five freshmen, the Pirates started two sophomores, a junior and its only senior, center fielder Kenya Yancy, who has signed with USF.
"They are no longer freshmen. They have played 25 games," Braden River head coach Erin Spivey said. "We had a rocky start because we basically had a whole new team that was young, and it took us a couple of games to get comfortable. But since then they've been showing up."
Moy arguably has never played like a freshman, which is a reason she the leads the team with a .425 batting average and is the top run producer.
"She has come into this year and definitely been our key player," Spivey said. "She never has a down day and is always happy to play. She loves to play, and it shows. The biggest adjustment with this team was learning how to play together as a team. That's been a challenge."
Freshman Lexie Phelps started for the Pirates and went four innings, allowing five hits and striking out two. Ali Yawn, another freshman, threw the final inning.
Phelps got some big help from her defense, especially in the third, when North Port (8-16) loaded the bases with no outs and failed to score.
The Pirates turned a 6-2-3 double play on a nice stop by freshman shortstop Kinsey Goelz, then sophomore first baseman Bethany Keen caught a line drive.
"At first we weren't doing so well and then we got comfortable with each other and now we trust each other a lot more, and that has helped," Moy said.
The Pirates got their first run in the second on an RBI single by freshman catcher Sarah Crawford that scored Phelps, who singled.
They broke the game open with five runs in the third. Moy had an RBI triple, Crawford drove in a run with a double, and Keen and sophomore third baseman Kylie Toler had RBI singles.
With two outs and the bases empty in the bottom of the fifth, Moy doubled and scored the game-ending run on a double by freshman Zaire Yancy, Kenya's younger sister.