In a scoreless game with the go-ahead run at second with two outs in the fifth inning, Cooper City junior right fielder Alejandra Mata felt the pressure to drive home pinch-runner Grace Gonzalez.
Freshman designated player Felicia Ianniello had reached on an error by the shortstop and advanced to second on a bunt. Following a flyout to center, Mata slapped the first pitch off St. Thomas Aquinas junior Meghan King to right field.
Senior Stephanie Sobolewski made a rushed, errant throw to first, permitting Gonzalez to score.
It proved to be all the Cowboys needed as senior Kelly Coulter pitched her first no-hitter in a 1-0 victory against the Raiders for the District 16-7A championship Thursday at Cooper City High.
“I was thinking I had to hit the ball, and if I didn’t I would get in trouble with my mom because she just really wants me to hit,” said Mata, who moved from Buford, Ga., before the school year and whose mother only comes to important games. “It feels amazing.”
Coulter (8-8) allowed just two players to reach base: Junior Megan Isoba’s error on a bad hop put junior center fielder Victoria Stock on with one out in the third. Samantha Strum walked to lead off the sixth.
“Basically everything [was working],” said Coulter, who didn’t play her sophomore season and half her junior year. “Everything fell together finally for once. We hit when we needed to, they fielded when we needed to.”
St. Thomas Aquinas (17-5), which had won eight games in a row, last lost to Orlando’s Timber Creek on March 16. King (10-4) scattered four hits and struck out seven hitters in seven innings.
The Raiders beat the Cowboys (12-11) twice in the regular season. Last season, Aquinas captured the district title, but Cooper City took the rematch in the regional semifinal, eventually making it to the state semifinal.
“Whether the score’s by a little or by a lot they’re always close and competitive,” Cooper City coach Phil Schmalz said of the series. “Everything just clicked, and we’ve been waiting all year for that against a quality opponent. We had been struggling against better teams until [Thursday].”
WP: Kelly Coulter (8-8). LP: Meghan King (10-4)