By Matt Mauney | Staff Writer
The Plant City Little League 10-11 Baseball All-Stars kept things rolling Monday night as they became the best team in the state, beating Cape Coral 13-2 in the finals of the Florida state tournament in Defuniak Springs.
It was a case of deja vu for Plant City, as they won the state title for the second straight year, winning it last year as the 9-10 All-Stars and doing so by beating Cape Coral in the finals.
“It’s a lot of pressure to go back to back,” head coach T.J. Messick said after the win Monday. “Those boys wanted it more than anybody.”
After having a cold bat for most of the state tournament, J.J. Gonzalez came up big in the finals, hitting two home runs Monday. The first was a three-run shot that put his team up 4-0 in the second after Plant City scored the first run of the game.
The Plant City bats then exploded in the third, as the All-Stars scored seven runs to go up 11-0. J.J. Gonzalez’s second blast came in the fourth, putting the game out of reach with a two-run shot.
Both of Cape Coral’s runs came off Plant City errors, according to Messick. Cape Coral loaded the bases with two outs in a last ditch effort in the bottom of the fourth, but a pop up to pitcher Bryar Christian ended the game due to the run-rule.
Christian threw a complete game Monday, closing out a dominate performance at the state tourney by the Plant City rotation. Plant City used only six pitchers in five games, with the starters in the final four games – Ben Pues, Cade Shissler, Andrew Long and Christian – throwing complete games. Dylan Robinson got the start in the first game of the state tournament, before Braxton Plunk came in to close things out.
Christian had two home runs in the state tournament while Plunk and Long each had one. Nine out of the 11 members of the team have hit a home run this All-Star season.
The All-Stars are now 29-0 since the beginning of the 2011 district tournament and 11-0 this season. They will now turn their focus to the Southeast Region tournament in Greenville, N.C. this weekend.
According to Messick, the outlook is unknown, but he knows his team will be ready.
“You never know what you’re going to get or what you may see,” he said. “A team may have a stud pitcher that is un-hittable. You just never know. We just have to keep doing what we’ve been doing and not ever look ahead, taking it one game, one out and one inning at a time.”
Contact Matt Mauney at firstname.lastname@example.org.