PLANT CITY — East Bay senior Haley Murphy had to take a few games off early this season to give the flaring tendinitis in her left knee a rest.
When Murphy did come back around midseason, East Bay coach Glenn Rodriguez eased her into the flow, often cutting her innings to no more than three or four.
In the process, East Bay jumped on the roller-coaster ride with Murphy, who steadily got stronger and better.
By Tuesday night's do-or-die Class 8A, District 6 semifinal against Durant, Murphy said she felt 100 percent — and it showed.
Throwing all of her pitches — fastball, screwball, rise ball, changeup and curve — with equal auhority, Murphy went the distance, earning a 2-0 victory with four strikeouts.
"When I was coming back from (the tendinitis injury) I would land on the knee and it would start shaking," Murphy said. "I wondered how everything was going to work out. After all that, this (victory) feels really good."
Murphy said she gained a boost of confidence in Tuesday's first inning when she stepped to the plate and slapped an RBI double, sending Presley Okimosh home for the first run.
East Bay (14-12) made it 2-0 in the third inning when Okimosh scored again, this time on a Rachel Kingery single.
The victory not only sends the Indians to Thursday night's final against Plant City, but it avenges two earlier season losses to Durant, which won those games by a combined score of 20-3.
"We were never going to let up on Durant tonight," Murphy said. "We never got comfortable with our lead."
Plant City (19-6) advanced with a 12-3 victory over Bloomingdale (19-7).
Plant City broke the game open in the fifth inning, scoring six runs on five hits and two errors.
In two regular-season faceoffs, East Bay and Plant City each recorded one victory.