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TAMPA — There was an early sign of hope, a two-out double in the bottom of the first that sailed deep into rightfield.
Alonso’s fans buzzed with optimism, realizing hits and runs were sure to be at a premium with Durant ace Tyler Danish on the mound Tuesday.
It was all a delusion: Danish’s mastery silenced both the Ravens’ bats and their crowd.
“Everyone is kind of loud early,” Danish said. “But they’re quiet at the end.”
Danish threw a complete-game shutout and Luke Heyer went 3-for-3 with two RBIs to lift the Cougars to a 2-0 victory.
Durant took a one-run lead in the first inning and Danish took over from there, coming up with his second one-hitter of the season to give the Cougars (5-0) their fourth shutout in five games.
The 6-foot-1 Florida commit put on a show for the dozens of fans, many of whom included major-league scouts, in a win that left Durant as the only undefeated team in Class 8A-7.
Danish threw 75 pitches, 54 for strikes, and finished with 12 strikeouts, no walks and hit one batter with a pitch in the second inning.
After surrendering a first-inning double to Alonso centerfielder Tommy Lynch, Danish didn’t give up another hit to the Ravens (5-2) for the rest of the night.
“The guy was on tonight,” Alonso coach Landy Faedo said. “He struck out 12 — it seemed like he struck out more.”
All the offense Danish needed for the win came in the first, when Heyer singled to leftfield and drove in Jacob Sullivan.
Heyer put the Cougars on the board again in the top of the seventh, when doubling in Garrett Wright to give Danish a little more cushion for the bottom of the inning.
He didn’t need it, though Durant coach Butch Valdes wished his offense had come up with a few more runs anyway.
“We’re comfortable with him out there,” Valdes said. “But we’d like to give him a little more support.”
Alonso’s Cody Beckman was tagged with the loss, giving up only a run and three hits with three strikeouts. Ravens junior Alex Faedo followed up with a strong effort in relief, notching six strikeouts in 2 1/3 innings.
But it wasn’t nearly enough against Danish and the district-leading Cougars.
“If I’m in the zone,” Danish said, “that’s how it is.”