Baseball: Durant's perfectly at ease in close games



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Tue. February 28, 2012 | Laura Keeley | Email

PLANT CITY — So far this season, all of Durant’s four games have been decided by one run.

Seeing as pitching is the Cougars’ strong suit, though, three of those games resulted in victories. Tuesday’s game against Alonso continued the trend, as Durant maximized its walks and Alonso’s defensive miscues to pull out the 3-2 district win.

“We have some horses in the stable,” said Cougars coach Butch Valdes, referring to senior (and Virginia commit) Trey Oest, who picked up the win; junior southpaw Chaz Fowler, who earned the save; and junior Tyler Danish, a Florida commit. “We just want to string some hits for them, so they feel the support from our bats.”

Durant (3-1, 2-1), was efficient early, as Danish and Brenden Gluch drew back-to-back walks to open the game. First baseman Paxton Sims drove both in with a double, and Alonso coach Landry Faedo opted to change pitchers, bringing in Nathan Hahn with no outs.

Hahn promptly struck out the side and allowed no earned runs in 5 2/3 innings. The Cougars’ other run came in the fourth, courtesy of a John Coglianese double.

Alonso (2-3, 1-2) had cut the deficit to 2-1 in the third thanks to a Ryan Valdes single up the middle. The Ravens managed to walk the bases full in the fifth and sixth innings but left them loaded as Fowler worked his way out of the jams with a soft grounder to first and a strikeout, respectively.

Alonso added its second run with two outs in the seventh on a Michael Ballestero single, but Fowler again came up with the timely strikeout to end the game.

The Class 8A, District 7 win against the defending Class 6A state champions is a needed confidence booster for the Cougars, Valdes said. And they feel even better knowing that it came on a night when their strongest assets, those arms, weren’t necessarily as sharp as they’ve come to expect.

“It’s a great feeling whenever you’re not on and you still come out with a win,” said Oest. “We scored some runs, and that was huge.”

Hometeam Hot Shots


Cole Gordon, Steinbrenner. The sophomore tossed a no-hitter and hit the first home run of his high school career—a grand slam, no less—as the Warriors beat Chamberlain 10-0.

Pete Alonso, Plant. His double and home run helped lead Plant in a come-from-behind, 6-3 victory over Wharton.

Leland Saile, Jesuit. The junior went 2-for-2 with a double and a team-high 3 RBIs in a five-inning, 10-0 win over Lennard.

Witness a hot shot performance? Drop Laura Keeley an email (lkeeley@tampabay.com) or a tweet (@LauraHomeTeam) so your team can be included. 



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