Green Valley pitcher Fenixx Henderson stepped into the circle Thursday facing one of the biggest starts of her young high school career.
With her team battling for second place in the Southeast League, the freshman right-hander calmly tossed a four-hitter to help the host Gators cruise to a five-inning 10-0 victory over Silverado.
The win gave Green Valley (15-3, 7-2 Southeast) sole possession of second place and dropped the Skyhawks (9-4, 6-3) into third.
“I wasn’t overconfident,” Henderson said. “I just kept my head up. I know some of the (Silverado) players, and I know their weaknesses.”
Gators coach Lauren Taylor, whose team dropped a 7-5 decision to the Skyhawks last month, said Henderson is clearly improving at the art of exploiting her opponents’ weaknesses.
“She’s finally starting to realize that there’s a game outside of her circle,” Taylor said. “She’s getting smarter at hitting her spots, and she’s learning the importance of pitch selection and location.”
Henderson got into some early trouble and had to work out of a second-inning jam after surrendering two one-out hits. But the Gators gave her some run support in the third, exploding for five hits off Silverado starter Taylee Heckman and going ahead 4-0 on an RBI single by Cori Sutton.
“Hitting gets us everywhere,” Taylor said. “If you don’t hit, you’re not going to win.”
Green Valley extended its lead to 6-0 on back-to-back RBI doubles by Megan Barrera and Chelsea Anderson in the fourth inning, and capped a four-run fifth inning with a game-ending RBI single by Anderson.
Taylor made little of the Gators’ move in the standings.
“The biggest thing is just to get into regionals,” said the coach, whose team won the Sunrise Region last season. “I don’t care what position we’re in, as long as we get there.”
Anderson went 3-for-3 with two RBIs for the Gators, and Barrera was 3-for-4.