When Zephyrhills senior outfielder Isabella Mathis stepped out on the field Tuesday night against rival Pasco, the torn meniscus and the subsequent surgery that put her on the sidelines months ago was the furthest from her mind.
She wanted to play and she wanted to make a big play.
Mathis played and was perfect at the plate going 2-for-2 at the plate with a double and was solid on defense including making a run-saving diving catch in centerfield.
Unfortunately, Zephyrhills suffered an 8-6 loss to the Pirates. Defensive break downs by the Bulldogs coupled with a two-run home run blast by Pasco’s Madison Petty doomed the Bulldogs. Petty broke a 6-6 tie in the sixth inning to put the Pirates up for good to secure the win.
“It feels absolutely amazing to be back out there,” Mathis said after the disappointing loss that dropped the Bulldogs to 0-2 on the season. “There was no hesitation with my knee. Yesterday, I stayed after practice and my uncle hit to me and I felt so good. The road to get back was painful, exhausting, but I knew if I worked hard, I could back sooner than the doctor told me and I did that.”
Mathis and the Bulldogs jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning thanks to errors by the Pirates and a two-run single by freshman Hannah Helms. The Pirates battled back in the second inning to knot the score at 3-3.
The Bulldogs jumped ahead 4-3 in the third on a RBI single by Madison Schroeder. Pasco tied the game in the fourth and took a 6-4 lead in the fifth.
Zephyrhills tied it up in the sixth when Laila Woolfolk ripped a two-run double scoring Mathis and Brooke Lea.
In the bottom of the sixth, Petty ripped a line drive home run to left field to seal the deal for Pasco.
“We need to work on the basics and communicate more,” said Lea. “I love playing with these girls. They have some of the best attitudes of any players I’ve played with. They don’t get down. Even losing tonight, nobody is hanging their heads.”