EAST MANATEE -- The last time Courtney Mirabella pitched against Manatee, she threw a perfect game.
This time, she wasn't perfect, but you could argue she was better.
This time, the Braden River right-hander hurt Manatee with her bat and her arm. This time, she drove in four runs in a 10-0 Class 7A-District 11 victory that was stopped in the bottom of the sixth inning Tuesday night because of the 10-run mercy rule.
This time, the senior felt better.
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"I am more proud of my hitting tonight. Four RBIs is not like me at all," Mirabella said. "No perfect game, but I felt good. Winning 10-0 feels the best. I like pitching to them because they are a good-hitting team."
It's not that Mirabella didn't dominate on the mound. She gave up only two hits, didn't walk a batter and struck out 12 in six innings. Most impressively, she threw 64 pitches, and 55 were for strikes.
"The biggest thing for her was getting first-pitch strikes, and of the 20 batters she faced she had 16 first pitch strikes," Braden River pitching coach Melissa Dowling said.
Mirabella staked herself to a 2-0 lead in the first with a two-run single that scored Kenya Yancy and Ashley Allard, both of whom reached on singles. Mirabella then scored on an error.
The Pirates (6-1, 5-0 district) added a run in the fourth on an RBI single by Hannah Loyer, who had three hits along with Mirabella to lead the Braden River offense.
Allard knocked in a run with a single in the fifth to give the Pirates a 5-0 lead. The floodgates opened in
the sixth with Mirabella and Jessica Cadorette getting RBI singles.
The Pirates banged out 12 hits. Loyer's double was the only extra-base hit. The switch-hitting Yancy who got a rare chance to bat from the right side, banged out two hits and hit the ball hard a third time.
"It doesn't matter to me, but I like hitting righty better. I felt good up there. She threw inside, and I love insides pitches," Yancy said.
Braden River head coach Erin Spivey said her junior shortstop had the freedom to hit from either side.
"I give her the choice. It depends on how she feels. She has embraced it (switch-hitting) and is hitting .570 slapping. She hits it harder when she bats righty. She batted righty against Charlotte and had four hits," Spivey said.
Kelli Gault went the distance on the mound for Manatee, and Hailey Hopkins had both hits for the Canes (5-3, 4-5), getting singles in the the second and the fifth. Mirabella retired the side in order in the other innings.
"We tried to change our approach against her and try some small ball," Manatee head coach John Carlock said. "We tried to put the ball in play and not strike out like we did so much against her the first time with 16 strikeouts. We were a little bit better. They hit the ball well and outpitched and outfielded us."
The shutout was the fifth straight for Braden River, which has outscored its opponents 28-0 during that stretch. For the season, Mirabella (4-1) has struck out 74 in 35 innings and has a 0.31 ERA.