A day after ensuring she would continue her softball career in college, Brianna Bartuccio made sure her final high school season kept going.
The Barron Collier senior struck out 13 in a complete game as the Cougars beat Fort Myers 3-1 in the Class 6A regional semifinals Thursday.
One of Bartuccio’s best pitching performances came followed one of her proudest days as a softball player. On Wednesday, she was honored at a school signing ceremony for committing to play at NCAA Division I school Austin Peay next year.
“It’s been a good week,” Bartuccio said. “My rise (ball) was working tonight, and our defense was great.”
The Cougars (22-4) advanced to the regional semifinals for the third straight season. They’ll face their biggest rival for the right to play for a regional championship.
Barron Collier will host Naples High in the semifinals at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. It will be the fourth time the teams have played this year. They split in the regular season, and after Naples won the No. 1 seed on a coin flip, Barron Collier won last week’s district tournament final.
“I’d rather beat Naples than beat another team,” junior Sara Scoone said. “It makes it that much sweeter.”
Fort Myers’ first two batters of the game struck out, and Bartuccio rode the momentum the rest of the way. She struck out two in each of the first five innings and kept the Green Wave scoreless until the sixth.
The Wave came into Thursday’s regional batting .365 as a team. Bartuccio held Fort Myers to four hits.
Before taking the mound, Bartuccio had a good feeling. While warming up for the game, she said her pitches had such velocity that her catcher took notice.
“I was in the bullpen and (catcher) Haleigh (Ross) was like, ‘(Dang) dude, you’re throwing hard,’” Bartuccio said.
In their second victory over the Green Wave (18-10) this season, an early push was all the Cougars needed. Barron Collier scored three times in the bottom of the first inning, all with two outs. Scoone knocked in two runs in the frame.
The first matchup between the teams wasn’t as close. Barron Collier beat Fort Myers 13-3 on Feb. 15, the Cougars’ fourth game of the season.
The Cougars had chances to score, but they left 10 runners on base Thursday. It’s a problem Barron plans to correct before the next round.
“Our team motto is ‘resilience,’” Scoone said. “We pick each other up.”
BARRON COLLIER 3, FORT MYERS 1
FM 000 001 0 — 1 4 3
BC 300 000 0 — 3 6 2
FM — Norris, Mayer (2), Norris (3) to Troast. BC — Bartuccio to Ross. WP — Bartuccio. LP — Norris.