SAN JOSE -- Mt. Pleasant scheduled a nonleague softball game Thursday at Valley Christian because it wanted to see another top-flight pitcher.
The Cardinals saw one and then some.
Brynne Fitzpatrick, who entered the day with 207 strikeouts in 98 innings, had another typical day in the circle.
She struck out six straight to begin the game and 18 overall as seventh-ranked Valley Christian defeated No. 14 Mt. Pleasant 6-0.
The 18 strikeouts were two off Fitzpatrick's season high and marked the seventh time this spring she has struck out at least 16.
"She's always had a good fastball, good control," Valley Christian coach Rigo Gutierrez said. "She started to work on the rise-ball and her screwball in our high school offseason, so over the summer season."
Fitzpatrick also got stronger. Since dealing with a lower-back injury last season, she has spent time in the weight room, strengthening her legs to help make pitching easier.
"It's definitely helped," Gutierrez said, noting that the junior has been just as strong in the latter innings as she is at the start.
She clearly showed that Thursday. After Mt. Pleasant opened the sixth inning with a walk and a single and then moved the runners to second and third with a well-executed sacrifice, Fitzpatrick struck out the next two batters to keep the score 3-0.
Mt. Pleasant, which reached a Central Coast Section final last year, struck out two more times in the seventh as it was shut out for the fourth time this season.
"I thought today's game went really well," Fitzpatrick said. "Obviously, there is always stuff that you can do better. You never have like a perfect game. But overall as a team, this was one of our better games, especially hitting."
Valley Christian took advantage of a couple of throwing errors to take a 3-0 lead in the third inning.
The Warriors put the game away after Fitzpatrick pitched out of trouble in the top of the sixth.
"I knew coming out up they were a really good hitting team," Fitzpatrick said. "Overall, their team is really good."
Mt. Pleasant showed how good it can be last week when it beat Leland, the Mercury News' second-ranked team. But Thursday the Cardinals could not overcome their mistakes and Fitzpatrick.
"The reason I picked this game was to get them ready to see somebody like that if we make it to CCS and in our league," Mt. Pleasant coach Manuel Resendez said. "Our defense let us down. When we played against Leland, our defense was right on. Today it just seemed like throwing errors and not hitting and not executing what we wanted to get accomplished."
Valley Christian next plays at top-ranked Mitty on Wednesday. Mt. Pleasant has an extended break before playing at home against Leigh on April 30.