TAMPA — As a light breeze filled the air, Alonso’s defense began to leak.
The Ravens dropped a game-opening line drive and misplayed an ensuing potential double-play grounder. By the end of the night, Plant turned three Alonso errors into five unearned run for a 7-6 victory Thursday in the Class 6A, District 8 title game.
It was the third district crown in the past four years for Plant (18-6), which lost to Alonso (18-5) in last season’s district finale.
Winners of 15 of their past 16 games, the Panthers bolted to a 7-1 lead and held on as freshman reliever Noah Dyals recorded a six-out save. Catcher Kyle Woodford ended the game by throwing out Chris Mejia, who was attempting to steal second.
“It was like a thousand pounds lifted off my shoulders (after Woodford’s throw),” said Dyals, pitching for the first time in 14 days.
Alonso, which had an 11-game win streak snapped, gave up two unearned runs in the first. In the third, another error led to three unearned runs as Plant scored five times. The big blow came from No. 9 hitter Ryan Ward, whose two-run double capped the rally. Nick
Ramos and Woodford also added RBI singles. The Panthers were held to one hit after Ward’s double.
Dyals relieved starter Matt Sanders (5-1) in the sixth with runners on second and third. Alonso scored three runs as Matt Brandy’s RBI single pulled the Ravens within a run. But Dyals shut the door after that.
“You have to capitalize on (mistakes) if you’re going to be a good team and that’s what good teams do,” Plant coach Plant coach Dennis Braun said. “It’s part of the game.”