Plant City, Strawberry Crest and Durant all finished their regular seasons with wins as district tournaments begin.
As district tournaments were slated to start around the state this week, Plant City, Strawberry Crest and Durant all finished their regular seasons with wins last week.
On Thursday, Durant headed out to Lutz to face the Steinbrenner Warriors, coming away with a 6-1 victory to finish the regular season 15-8.
Sophomore Blaine Rowland got the start for Durant, carrying the Cougars to a victory as he struck out three batters while allowing just four hits and one earned run over his five innings of work.
Durant opened the scoring in the top of the third. Aidan Welsh hit a high chopper to the infield, beating out the throw before a bunt from Devin Suero was thrown wide of the Steinbrenner first baseman, getting past him and leaving runners on first and third. Nick April-Gath followed that up with a shallow fly ball to right field that fell between the second baseman and right fielder, giving Durant a 1-0 lead and leaving runners on first and second. A base hit from junior Dylan LaPointe scored Suero and the Cougars took a 2-0 lead.
Steinbrenner answered right back in the bottom of the fourth to keep the contest close, for the time being. The Warriors led off the frame with a base hit and the runner advanced to second on a balk. He advanced to third on a passed ball in the dirt before scoring on their second base hit of the inning, giving Steinbrenner their only run of the game and closing the Durant lead to 2-1.
In the top of the fifth, Durant’s Avery Cherry led off with a base hit before stealing second to move into scoring position with no outs, and as LaPointe flew out to right, a wild throw from Steinbrenner trying to nab Cherry as he looked to advance to third allowed him to come home and push the Cougars’ lead to 3-1. And in the sixth inning, Durant pulled away with two outs. With runners on first and second, LaPointe cashed in again with a base hit to left, scoring Suero, and a routine fly ball that was dropped in the outfield allowed two more runs to score.
With a 6-1 lead in hand, the bullpen combo of senior Weston Sanchez and freshman Jack Brooks were able to combine for two scoreless innings to close out the contest.
Across town, Plant City hosted Hillsborough on Friday and came away with a 6-1 win of their own to move to 17-6 on the season.
The Raiders scored four runs in the fourth inning and tacked on two more in the fifth, while giving up Hillborough’s only run in the top of the seventh. Senior Colin Shultz, senior Jace Stines and junior Deven Gonzalez all had multi-hit games while the big bat of senior Jackson VanDerZee led the charge with three runs batted in and his district-leading seventh home run of the season.
On the mound, junior Adan Longoria threw five scoreless innings while striking out four and allowing just two hits before junior Preston Rogers closed the door with three strikeouts and just one hit allowed over his two frames.
Strawberry Crest headed to Plant on Thursday for the third matchup of the season between the Chargers and the Panthers, the first coming by way of a 6-1 victory for Plant in the Saladino Tournament Semifinals and their second seeing Crest get their revenge with a 3-2 win earlier in April. In the third installment, Crest wrapped up their regular season with a 7-3 victory to move to 16-8.
Crest took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second before Plant snatched the lead with two runs of their own in the bottom of the third. The Chargers then tacked on three runs in the fifth and seventh to secure the win. Six different Chargers notched hits in the contest, led by junior Zach Redner with three runs batted in and his second home run of the season. Senior Ethan Pues added two RBIs of his own and Arjun Nimmala notched his second home run of the season with a solo shot.
On the mound, Redner threw six innings, striking out nine while allowing seven hits and three earned runs before junior Alex Philpott handled the final frame, striking out two and allowing one hit.
All Plant City area teams were scheduled to play their district semifinal matchups on Tuesday, with both games starting before ultimately being delayed due to weather.
Durant and Plant City opened their 7A District 6 Tournament contest with Longoria on the mound for the Raiders and senior Torin Byrnes on the mound for the Cougars. The game was stopped after two innings with Plant City leading 3-1. That game was scheduled to resume on Wednesday at 5 p.m. Strawberry Crest opened their 6A District 7 Tournament contest against Armwood, jumping out to a 6-0 lead before the game was stopped in the bottom of the second.
2022 PLANT CITY AREA LEADERS
Batting Average (min. 50 PA)
1. Dylan LaPointe, Durant: .400
2. Colin Shultz, Plant City: .386
3. Ethan Pues, Crest: .368
4. Nick April-Gath, Durant: .347
5. Brandon Watts, Crest: .341
Runs Batted In
1. Colin Shultz, Plant City: 26
2. Ethan Pues, Crest: 23
3. Dylan LaPointe, Durant: 22
4. Zach Redner, Crest: 17
5. Oscar Fernandez, Durant: 15
1. Colin Shultz, Plant City: 27
T2. Nick April-Gath, Durant: 26
T2. Dylan LaPointe, Durant: 26
T4. Ray Allen Vasquez, Crest: 24
T4. Devin Suero, Durant: 24
1. Jackson VanDerZee, Plant City: 7
2. Colin Shultz, Plant City: 6
T3. Dylan LaPointe, Durant: 4
T3. Ethan Pues, Crest: 4
ERA (min. 15 IP)
1. Tanner Rollyson, Plant City: 0.00
2. Blaine Rowland, Durant: 0.78
3. Adan Longoria, Plant City: 0.83
4. Preston Rogers, Plant City: 1.37
5. Zach Redner, Crest: 1.51
1. Zach Redner, Crest: 74
2. Adan Longoria, Plant City: 68
3. Torin Byrnes, Durant: 66
4. Chase Mobley, Plant City: 62
5. Alex Philpott, Crest: 48