TAMPA — A solid offensive effort propelled Gaither to the Class 5A, District 9 title in a 14-4 victory Thursday against King in a rematch of last season’s final.
The Cowboys’ potent offense was spearheaded by senior Alejandro Brunet, who finished the tournament with four home runs in three games, including two solo shots in the final.
“I’ve been off all season but I’m just happy that I’m getting hot at the right time,” Brunet said. “I’ve tried to simplify things and just hit the ball hard back to the pitcher.”
Junior Alex Milne took the mound for the Cowboys, pitching all five innings and striking out four batters. The performance was far from Milne’s best, but coach Frank Permuy is hoping the win will boost his confidence heading into the state playoffs.
“He’s been struggling with mechanics all year,” Permuy said. “It seems like he’s starting to come around. It couldn’t happen at a better time. He wasn’t 9-0 last season for no reason. I could have pulled him tonight, but I wanted him to finish so he could gain some confidence.”
Gaither will host Venice, the team that knocked the Cowboys out of the state tournament last year, in the first round of region play. Permuy is looking forward to another chance at exacting revenge.
“I think these last three games we’ve proved to ourselves that we can swing the bat,” Permuy said. “They knocked us out last year so we know it’ll be a challenge facing them again.”