With her twin sister and starting first baseman ejected in the first inning for arguing with an umpire, Barron Collier High School sophomore pitcher Tori Sutherland silently fumed.
She turned that anger into fuel during Wednesday night’s Class 6A regional quarterfinal against Mariner. Sutherland carried a perfect game into the sixth inning, settling for a masterful two-hitter as the Cougars topped the Tritons, 3-1.
Barron Collier (21-5) travels to North Fort Myers, an 8-1 winner over Lely, for the regional semifinals Tuesday.
The Cougars may do so without Allie Sutherland, who was tossed by the home plate umpire after an unusual sequence of events. With the Cougars up 1-0 and the bases loaded against Mariner freshman phenom pitcher Hannah Holloway, Sutherland was hit by a pitch to seemingly force in a run. The umpire ruled the pitch a strike, saying Sutherland didn’t make an effort to get out of the way. After she fouled a pitch off, she was hit by another pitch. Again, the umpire ruled she didn’t get out of the way, making for one of the strangest strikeouts possible.
Sutherland apparently said something the umpire didn’t like, and he tossed her from the game.
“It’s going to state tonight to be ruled on. It could be a game; it could be two games,” Barron Collier coach Tom Resop said of a possible suspension. “She barked at blue the first time when he called it a strike, and then really barked at blue the second time, and he’s not going to put up with that. I told her to apologize to blue, so hopefully that helps her cause.”
With Sutherland ejected, the Cougars called upon freshman Macie MacDonald to finish the game at first base. She played flawless defense and started a two-run fourth-inning rally with a walk, battling back from an 0-2 count.
“(Macie) came off the bench and really helped our team out,” Tori Sutherland said. “We all got really angry (after Allie Sutherland’s ejection) but we held it in pretty good for a little bit, trying not throw some hands. Instead of getting angry, we came out and played our emotions. We all picked each other up.”
Ashley Hayes led the Cougars’ offensive attack, going 2 for 3 with two RBIs.
Mariner’s Abby Love led off the seventh with a single, and later scored on a pair of infield errors by the Cougars. With the tying run at the plate, Sutherland settled down to get the next two outs to squash the threat.
“The key for them was (Sutherland),” Mariner coach Rachel Holloway said. “We couldn’t catch up to her. We started to show a little bit of life at the end, but it was too late. They were just the better team tonight.”
The Tritons (21-8) graduate four senior starters — catcher Madison James, first baseman Jasmine O’Neill, second baseman Ari Sosa and center fielder Madi McClellan — but the future looks bright with Holloway, the coach’s little sister, returning for three more years. Hannah Holloway struck out 228 batters over 162 2/3 innings this season. Third baseman Monica Montes, the Tritons’ No. 3 hitter, is also a freshman.
“I have high hopes for our team, and we’ll build around Hannah,” Rachel Holloway said. “The future looks very bright for us.”