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Wednesday, May 23, 2018
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Mercy Rule Halts Hard-Hitting Cougars

PLANT CITY - There have been better remedies for treating bronchitis. In their first meeting with rival Durant this season, the Plant City High Raiders suffered their first mercy-rule defeat in head coach Heidi Kouveras' four years at the school. Kouveras was suffering from the effects of bronchitis Feb. 19 when Durant won 10-0 at Plant City. "I think it made me more sick," Kouveras said. "We had a completely off night. Pitching was off, we were making errors and obviously we struggled on offense."
Durant's Sara Demuth tossed her second no hitter of the season. Just as impressive was the Cougar offense, which had three homers in the victory. Kelsey Horton hit two in the game. Durant has been busy this season, with head coach Matt Carter choosing to schedule a couple of in-season tournaments. "Our regular season ends 10 days before the district tournament, for some reason, so I've made sure we get as many games in as possible," Carter said. The weekend before the Plant City game, Durant went 2-2 at the Sarasota Riverview Tournament. Both of the tournament victories Feb. 15 were by shutout against out-of-area teams, then the Cougars lost a couple of one-run affairs to more familiar opponents. On the first day of the tournament, Erika Wetherington blanked Fort Lauderdale's Archbishop McCarthy 4-0, followed by Demuth's 3-0 shutout of Orlando Colonial. In the game she didn't pitch, Demuth had a big impact at the plate with a two-run homer. On Feb. 16, Durant jumped ahead of Sarasota Riverview 6-0 but lost 11-10, then nearly came back from a first-inning four-run deficit before losing to Sickles 4-3. On Feb. 14, in a regular season game, Demuth had her first no-hitter in an 11-0 victory against Lakeland. Sarah Godheim posted a monster night at the plate, going 3-for-3 with five runs batted in. Against Plant City, it was clear Durant's busy workload helped the Cougars. "We had really only played one tough team, East Bay," Kouveras said. "We hadn't faced anyone like Demuth yet. And they are very aggressive on offense. You give them one good pitch to hit and they will drill it." Next up for Plant City is a trip to Lakeland on Friday night. Durant next hosts Sarasota Riverview on Friday.

Reporter Darek Sharp can be reached at [email protected] trib.com.

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