Hanna Stapleton had the ball in her hands and prepared to fire a pitch at the plate just as she has done countless times in her career at Navarre over the last four years.
She had already put away the first two Gulf Breeze batters without much trouble, making the two strikeouts she recorded in the top of the seventh inning look almost effortless.
Now, however, the pressure was on. With two outs and a runner on first base, the Raiders clinging to a one-run lead in the final game of the regular season, Stapleton needed to deliver.
Her arm was sore having pitched a game a night earlier, but she wasn’t going to let pain, or pressure for that matter, derail her focus.
“I was just thinking I’m going to get this out. No way am I going to let them score,” Stapleton said.
Away the pitch went, zipping towards the plate. The hitter made contact but the defense behind her made a great play, tagging out the runner at second.
Game over. Raiders 3, Dolphins 2.
“On some occasions I get nervous, but in this one I was completely confident in myself and in my team. I know they are going to back me up in any situation,” Stapleton said.
Read the full article in the April 27 issue of Navarre Press. Subscribe online at navarrepress.com for as little as $38 per year.