PALM HARBOR – Newsome and Palm Harbor University combined to score 27 runs in their two regular-season games. The Wolves smacked PHU 13-3 and the Hurricanes slammed Newsome 9-2.

But with the Class 9A District 8 championship on the line Thursday, it was time for pitching and defense to take over.

The teams scored all three of their combined runs in the first two innings and it was visiting Newsome that plated the difference maker. The Wolves took a quick 1-0 lead in the first on Claire Ginder’s RBI sacrifice fly that scored Bailee Leistl. That advantage doubled with a pair of doubles in the second. McKayla Timmons led off with a two-bagger and Daniela Waldron stepped up with the big, two-out, run-scoring double two batters later.

Turns out, Waldron’s second-inning RBI was the game-winner.

“Today I think you saw good pitching from both sides, the hitting was limited and the defense made some great plays when they needed to,” PHU coach Kerry Katchuk said after the game that started about a half hour early to avoid heavy rains.

PHU senior slugger Mia Buffano halved Newsome’s 2-0 advantage with a line-drive homer to lead off the second, but hits were hard to come by against Wolves starter Mary Beth Feldman. Newsome’s senior pitcher struck out 10 Hurricanes and limited PHU to four hits and four walks. Feldman ended her commanding night by striking out the final four batters she faced.

PHU starter Taylor Norwood also went the distance, mostly scattering nine hits and a walk while being saddled with the loss.

Timmons, Waldron and Jada Smallwood each hit doubles for the Wolves and sophomore Lydia Castro recorded the game’s only multi-hit game, going 2-for-3 with a pair of base hits.

Thursday’s win allows Newsome to avoid traveling to the east coast for Wednesday’s region quarterfinal game. The Wolves will host the District 9A-7 runner-up and PHU will go on the road. That district championship game is between Port St. Lucie Centennial (16-5) and Vero Beach (13-9). Centennial won both regular-season games.

District 9A-8 only consists of four teams but has been one of the deepest in the state. The league sent Alonso to the region finals last year and PHU (2017) and Alonso (2016) finished as state runners-up. Prior to the league’s formation, Newsome won the 2015 Class 8A state championship, beating PHU along the way in the region semifinals.

If the Hurricanes and Wolves are victories Wednesday, they will meet for a fourth time this season at Newsome on Tuesday, May 14.


New – 110 000 0 --- 2-9-1

PHU – 010 000 0 --- 1-4-2

WP – Mary Beth Feldman

LP – Taylor Norwood


Newsome (19-4)

Mary Beth Feldman – Win 7.0 IP, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 H, 4 BB, 10 K – 0-for-3

Daniela Waldron – 1-for-3, 2B, RBI

McKayla Timmons – 1-for-3, 2B, R

Lydia Castro – 2-for-3

Palm Harbor University (19-8)

Mia Buffano – 1-for-3, HR, RBI, R, IBB

Taylor Norwood – Loss 7.0 IP, 2 R, 1 ER, 9 H, 1 BB, 3 K – 0-for-1

Sammy Raynor – 1-for-2, BB