Hunter Emerine sparked Plant City’s offense in its May 11 district title win.
When Plant City High School’s baseball team needed a lead in its May 11 district championship game against Bloomingdale, Hunter Emerine stepped up. Plant City’s senior catcher gave the Raiders both of their leads during the game, first with the RBI single to put the team ahead 1-0 on May 10 and then with the game-winning solo home run the next morning to get the 2-1 lead PCHS went on to keep. Emerine leads the Raiders with 24 RBI and 10 doubles and will play at Polk State College after high school.
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I could tell you were stoked after that home run when I saw you running the bases for it, but what was going through your head when you hit that ball and were watching it go over the fence?
It was an adrenaline rush. I was very excited that we could pull ahead there and get a safety net.
You’re typically a doubles guy and that was a deep shot, so was that what you were expecting that hit to be? Or did you know right off the pop it was going out?
No, I knew it was hit pretty well. I thought it might get out. I didn’t know if ti was gonna get fair or not — obviously it did — and I was really excited. I knew I had a double all day long but to see it go out, that was good.
You’ve been working for that moment for the last four years and you all finally got it, so does it feel different now going into regionals than in the past?
Really, I don’t think it feels any different. We’ve still got to go win and go ahead and move on, keep going all the way to states.
What’s been the difference between this PCHS team and others in the past?
The heart to win. Everyone’s here together and we’re ready to win. We blend real well together. We all understand what we need to do to win.
How have you seen yourself grow as a player in four years here?
I’ve grown a lot from coming in as a freshman and not playing a lot to being a sophomore and getting thrown right in there… and learning my way. Now I feel comfortable out here. I can go and play with anyone out here on the field.
What do you know now that you wish you knew your sophomore year when you were thrown into the fire?
That mistakes happen. Go out there and play your best game. Do things for your team and not for yourself.
What’s your proudest moment as a Raider?
Hitting that home run the other day.
What’s the most fun you’ve had with this group of guys?
Being in the dugout every game. They’re hilarious and they always like to talk. It’s always loud. There’s the little jokes that go on all game, every game. Last game, we got really fired up and it was really fun. It’s probably the rowdiest dugout in Hillsborough County, to be honest with you.
What advice would you give to someone joining the team next year?
Work hard, hit the weights, focus on the team and have fun.