GIBSONTON — Riverview (18-8) advanced to the district final after junior Dylan Drawdy pitched a no-hitter against top-seeded Plant City (17-7) for a 3-0 win.
Going into the final inning, Drawdy was unaware that his no-hitter was intact. What he thought was a hit in the bottom of the fourth was ruled an error on the second baseman.
His coaches and teammates didn’t mention the prospect of the no-hitter, allowing the pitcher to play freely.
“Coach (Bill) Leiby is the best pitch-caller I’ve ever played for and tonight he did an amazing job,” Drawdy said. “Our defense was solid and I have to hand it to my catcher. It’s all sort of a blur right now; I don’t think it’s sunk in yet. Once I established my fastball, my cutter was more effective.
“Everyone knew it was a no-hitter except for me until the end.”
His opponent, Plant City’s T.J. Peterson, pitched a complete game allowing three runs on five hits while striking out 12.
Drawdy developed his cutter midseason, after his regular-season clash with Plant City. The pitched turned out to be crucial for Drawdy as he struck out 11.
“He had 12 strikeouts against them early in the season so we knew he matched up well,” Riverview coach Bill Leiby said. “He was a bull out there. I think the best inning he threw was the seventh inning with all the pressure. We struck out way too much tonight too, but we’ll address that tomorrow in practice.”
Durant overcame a two-run deficit with four runs in the bottom of the sixth for a 5-3 victory over Tampa Bay Tech.
Senior Emilio Ogando came on in relief in the fifth, pitching three shutout innings while racking up six strikeouts. Ogando also hit the two-run home run that would give the Cougars a 5-3 lead.
“Emilio has been the man for us lately,” Durant coach Butch Valdes said. “We’ve been fortunate because he’s been our go-to guy when everybody else hasn’t been able to step up.”