The opening of the Nine-Mile War with Zephyrhills and Pasco on the softball diamond couldn’t have been friendlier Tuesday night as seniors from both teams honored each other the final night they would share the same field.
Pirate seniors Aliyah Zito, Laci Carter and Abigail Mofford joined Bulldog seniors Brooke Lea, Izabella Mathis and Amberlyn Davis in the pitching circle to exchange gifts. The six players grew up together playing softball together on Little League and travel teams.
The friendship shared through their love of the game remained despite attending rival high schools and facing each other at least twice per season. The Pirates won Tuesday 6-3 at ZHS and the first meeting in Dade City, 8-6
“They’ve played together since they were babies,” said ZHS coach Kristen Dumont. “This was their last hoorah before they go on to the next chapter in their lives. It was a beautiful moment.”
For the Bulldogs (1-11), the game didn’t have a happy ending. The Pirates (4-9) put three runs on the board in the top of the seventh thanks to a ZHS error to claim the 6-3 win.
Zephyrhills’ pitching from a pair of freshmen, Laila Woolfork and Hannah Helms, was good enough to get the win as they allowed just two earned runs and recorded six strikeouts. Costly errors were the difference.
With Pasco leading 3-0 after the top of the third, the Bulldogs clawed their way back to knot the game after four innings. Sadly, the scoring came to a screeching halt after that.
“We have to work on being consistent in the field and in the batter’s box,” Dumont said. “Consistency is what we’re lacking.”