BRADENTON — If he had his way, Gene Brown would have been standing in a dugout. Instead, he was lying in a hospital bed.
Too bad, because the coach would have loved what he saw Thursday afternoon at Bradenton Christian.
His Panthers won one of the biggest games in their history, scoring a 7-1 win over Hernando Christian in the Class A, District 8 final.
Brown had emergency surgery on his intestine Tuesday night and is recovering at a hospital.
The Panthers scored in every inning but the fourth against a Lions team that defeated them twice during the regular season.
Pitcher Hailey Dearlove handcuffed an HCA team averaging more than 13 runs per game. Also, the Lions (26-1) committed five errors. HCA was ranked No. 3 in Class A in the Miracle Sports softball poll.
“With Mr. Brown being in the hospital, we wanted it that much more,” said Dearlove, who threw a one-hitter.