TAMPA — After three years of district tournament disappointments, Plant's senior class was finally able to leap over that looming hurdle and into the region tournament Thursday night at Chamberlain.
The top-seeded Panthers clinched a region berth — a first for their talented senior class — with a 7-1 victory over Hillsborough in the Class 5A, District 10 semifinals.
Plant (23-3) faces Chamberlain (12-12), a 2-1 upset winner over second seed Jesuit, in tonight's district championship at 7.
It was a redemption win for Plant, which has lost in the district semifinals the past three years.
"We knew this was the game we had to win," said Plant senior catcher Jared Womack, who was 3-for-4 with three RBIs. "In the past we knew we always had another chance, but this year we knew if we didn't win, we were going home."
Panthers junior right-hander Jake Lowe tossed 52/3 hitless innings in his second start since missing the entire season with blood clots in his throwing shoulder. Lowe finished with a two-hit complete-game win. Womack's two-run single and Logan Welch's two-run double paced a six-run fourth that broke a 1-1 tie.
In the second semifinal, Chamberlain sophomore left-hander Sean Prieto threw a complete-game two-hitter while striking out 10.
"We played them close the other two times," Prieto said. "We knew if we had one more inning go our way we could win. … I think we just wanted it more than they did."
Prieto outdueled Jesuit senior Matt Brazis, who allowed just two unearned runs on six hits and struck out 14. The Tigers (20-7) left the bases loaded against Prieto in the first and later in a 2-1 game had runners at second and third in the sixth and couldn't tie the score.
2A-9: Terrapins take out top seed
Tampa Prep held top-seeded Bishop McLaughlin to just three hits, winning a district title with a 9-5 upset victory.
Nathan Diaz drove in three runs for the Terrapins (13-14) and Ron Cribb hit a two-run double in the second inning.
Tampa Prep took a 4-0 lead after four innings, but Bishop McLaughlin (19-6) answered with two runs in the fifth, but the Terps rallied for four runs in the sixth and never looked back.
A-10: Lancers cruise
Top-seeded Cambridge Christian sent 17 batters to the plate in a 13-run fourth inning as the Lancers won the district title with an 18-5 five-inning win over No. 3 seed Bayshore Christian.
Bayshore (10-6) committed six errors, including three in the fourth. Lancers pitcher Matt Fishman earned the complete-game win, striking out eight for Cambridge (20-2).