TAMPA — Alonso held on for a 5-4 win over host Plant in a Class 8A, District 7 matchup Friday. Both starters, Plant’s Jake Woodford and Alonso’s Ryan Shives, had strong outings, keeping the hits down and the game scoreless for four innings.
The Panthers escaped a two-on, one-out situation in the top of the fourth then capitalized when Shives walked the first batter and Matt Vaka smashed a double into left-center. Shives rallied to end the inning but was pulled early in the fifth.
Both teams’ bats came alive in the fifth inning. The Ravens got a couple of runners on base for Austin Gonzalez, who smacked a pitch into left-center, scoring one. Then a fielding error allowed two more runs to score and the Ravens led 3-0.
Alonso coach Landy Faedo went to the bullpen in the bottom of the fifth after Patrick Brooks singled to left. The Panthers pounced on a tough outing from Tommy Lynch and loaded the bases as Faedo brought in Alex Faedo, who walked in two runs.
Tied at 3 the Ravens struck again, this time against reliever Stephen Chamblee. Faedo reached on an error then Nick Ballestero crushed a pitch to leftfield.
“I thought I hit it good and the wind was blowing that way so I was like, ‘Go out, go out,’ ” Ballestero said.
The two-run homer put the Ravens on top for good, but not before a scare in the bottom of the seventh when the Panthers got one run back off Chamblee’s sacrifice. But with runners at first and third with two out, Faedo struck out Vaka to hold on for the win.
“(The situation in the seventh inning) was good, I’m going to have to get used to it,” Faedo said. “It’s something I will definitely face again.”
Woodford finished with three strikeouts, two walks and one earned run in five innings. Shives had six strikeouts, three walks and one earned run in 4 1/3 innings.