Tuesday, March 14, was a magical night for the Flagler Palm Coast softball team.
The Bulldogs honored their four seniors on senior night. They improved to 6-0 for the first time in seven years. And they beat their rivals — the Matanzas Pirates — for the first time in six years.
FPC's 11-1 victory in five innings broke a six game losing streak against Matanzas. The Bulldogs' last win against the Pirates was on March 10, 2017 when they won 4-0.
It was a big win for sure, and on senior night. It will be the biggest win of the season." — HANNAH KUREK, FPC senior
"It was a big win for sure, and on senior night," senior Hannah Kurek said. "It will be the biggest win of the season."
FPC pitcher Alexis Laura overcame a wild first inning to throw a four-hitter. The Bulldogs collected seven hits off two Matanzas pitchers and took advantage of four Pirates' errors to win by the 10-run mercy rule.
"I've tried so hard every year since my freshman year to beat them," said Laura, a junior. "It feels like I've accomplished something."
Laura gave up her only run in the first on three hit batters and a walk, but she got out of the inning with the first of her seven strikeouts.
"The first inning was a little rough, but I figured out what my mistakes were and I fixed them," she said. "My hip was getting in the way, and I was dropping my wrists, which was causing me to hit batters."
FPC scored three runs in each of the first three innings and added two more in the fourth.
Senior Bailey Holmes had two hits with three runs scored and two runs batted in. Senior Kylee Burns also had two hits with two RBIs and scored a run. Kurek drove in two runs and scored two runs, and FPC's fourth senior, Madison Cercy, also scored a run.
The Bulldogs went 10-10 last year in coach Yessy Paneto's first season, but they haven't finished with a winning record since they went 14-12 in 2017.
"We're working more towards being a team instead of playing individually," Laura said. "And I think talking with each other and working out our differences has really put us together."
The Pirates fell to 5-3 with their third loss in a row. They graduated five seniors from last year's district championship team, and they are missing three players with injuries.
"At one point we had four or five kids injured," coach Sabrina Manhart said. "We've had to drop our JV team and bring our JV players up to varsity. But the great thing is we are young. I told our players, 'don't look at yourselves as losers, look at yourselves as learners."