Plant City picked up its first-ever win over Trinity Christian on Feb. 22.
Mike Fryrear and Gil Morales have been friends for years, but when it comes to the friendly rivalry between their current prep baseball programs, things have been one-sided over the last three years.
That is until the Raiders were able to get over the hump on Feb. 22 and pick up their first-ever win over Trinity Christian Academy.
Ace pitcher Parker Messick proved to be the X-factor in last week’s 1-0 win, arguably the highlight of the preseason classic tournament hosted at 1 Raider Place at the end of the week. Messick pitched six of the game’s eight innings and put up a monster stat line: 13 strikeouts, one hit and no walks allowed.
He handily won the duel against future Florida State teammate Dyland Simmons, who gave up three hits over five innings, but didn’t give up the winning run.
The game’s first seven innings brought plenty of bad luck for both the Raiders and the Conquerors. Trinity Christian’s offense couldn’t find a way to rattle Messick and the home team’s defense. Plant City’s offense didn’t have much trouble reaching base, thanks largely to a series of errors by the visiting team’s defense, but couldn’t get any runners to cross home plate — even with the bases loaded in the fifth and seventh innings.
Jarod Wingo picked up right where Messick left off, entering the game in the top of the seventh inning and getting all three batters he faced to strike out looking. Wingo got PCHS through the top of the eighth, too. After walking the first batter he faced, Wingo induced a pop fly to short, caught a man stealing and induced a groundout to end the inning.
Plant City’s luck finally turned around in the bottom of the eighth. After Cole Cothren grounded out to lead off the inning, Hunter Emerine reached base with a single. Wingo hit a single of his own, but Emerine was called out by fielder’s choice. Casey Mawhinney got on base with an infield single and Tyler Dowdy loaded the bases on a throwing error. Chris Rodriguez wrapped up the game with an RBI single to score Wingo from third base.
The win was especially sweet for Plant City because both teams are ranked in Florida’s top 20 by PrepBaseballReport.com.
Plant City’s regular season started Wednesday when the Raiders hosted Jefferson High School. Results from that game were not available at press time.
The Raiders will travel to Wharton tonight for a 7 p.m. game.