PUNTA GORDA - Kassidy Hopper highlighted a huge first inning with a three-run double which proved too much for Sarasota as the Charlotte High School softball team held on for a 7-2 victory Thursday in a non-district contest.
Laci Hendrickson pitched her first complete game of the season as she held the Sailors hitless for much of the game, then held on as Sarasota threatened to make a game of it.
"We came out in the first inning and got our runs. Laci pitched a good game after battling through injuries, and everything was good," Charlotte coach Greg Higgins said.
After letting one get away Wednesday against Riverdale, Charlotte (14-6) teed off on Sarasota starter Ava Johnston in the first, sending 11 batters to the plate. Kassidy Hopper walked, advanced and scored on Alyssa Opsahl’s single to make it 1-0.
After Savannah Jacobs' double that missed going out by a foot, Sydney Thomas drove in a run with a single. Erica Barnes walked to load the bases and Dylan Anthony reached on an error to bring home another.
Laci Hendrickson had an RBI single, and after Alaena Massey's fielder's choice, Hopper cleared the bases with a three-run double to make it 7-0 and send Johnston to the dugout.
Lizzy Small came in and not only stopped the avalanche, but totally shut down the Tarpons, not allowing a hit after the second inning.
Meanwhile, Hendrickson did her part to stop the Sailors, not allowing a hit until the fifth. When she finally did, Higgins told her she had a no-hitter.
"Why didn't you tell me," Hendrickson asked. Higgins responded "That's something we don't do."
But Hendrickson finally showed signs of tiring in the sixth as Sarasota (5-12) scored twice. Allison Becker drove home one with a grounder to short, while an RBI single from Olivia Martin made it 7-2.
Hendrickson got out of it as well as a mini-jam in the seventh to close it out, a symbol she is all the way back.
"It was a good game. I hyperextended my knee on second base so I've been working through that," Hendrickson said. "Getting those seven runs was great. It helped my confidence."
Opsahl had two hits for Charlotte. Anthony reached base three times.