Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Class 5A

5A baseball: Plant splits with Charlotte

PUNTA GORDA — The rain pelting their hats hit harder than any wake-up call.

Plant's players will crawl out of beds at a worn, weathered hotel more than 100 miles from their cozy South Tampa homes after splitting Friday's first two games of the Class 5A best-of-three region final against Charlotte.

Like the weather, Plant was hot then cold.

The Panthers (23-8) eked out a 2-1 extra-innings win in Game 1 but were stymied at the plate in a 5-3 loss in Game 2. The winner of today's 1 p.m. game goes to the state semifinals.

Three of Plant's past six games have come with the threat of elimination, so it believes it thrives under pressure.

"It's been this way since the playoffs started," pitcher Jake Lowe said. "I think it suits us better when these close games mean a lot. We're ready to go. I wouldn't have it any other way."

After Friday's games, Plant coach Dennis Braun said all three of his aces should be available.

Lowe, who pitched a solid Game 1, went six innings with a huge effort in his final three outs. With runners on second and third and no outs, he struck out three of the next four batters to end the threat. He allowed three hits and struck out six for the game. Sergio Pita, who will start today, ultimately finished off the Tarpons (21-11) for the win.

Offensively, Conner Mitchell won the game when he stroked a single up the middle in the eighth inning to score Mike Demo from second. Mitchell also singled in the third inning for a 1-0 lead, driving in Conner Shimberg.

In Game 2, Plant believed it had the upper hand with ace Mychal Givens headed to the mound. Givens pitched solidly but committed three throwing errors that led to runs and a 3-0 deficit.

After four innings, Givens moved to shortstop, having allowed four hits and striking out eight. Dylan Henderson came on and helped the Panthers scrape together its first run in the fourth with an RBI single.

Plant got two more runs on singles by Shimberg and Demo but stranded two at third.

"This team plays loose, and they've grinded all year," Braun said. "We played as many close games as we'll probably play in five years. They know how to be in that situation. They know how to react."


5A baseball: Plant splits with Charlotte 05/15/09 [Last modified: Friday, May 15, 2009 11:13pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Sunday Morning Quarterback, Week 9


    Tampa Bay Tech Titans Michael Penix Jr. (9) throws a pass during the first half during the first half at Durant High School in Plant City on Friday, October 20, 2017.
  2. Road to Atlanta: Tell us how you really feel, Jimbo


    Topped out

    TUSCALOOSA, AL - OCTOBER 21:  Rashaan Evans #32 of the Alabama Crimson Tide tackles Jarrett Guarantano #2 of the Tennessee Volunteers at Bryant-Denny Stadium on October 21, 2017 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) 775042495
  3. Journal: USF gets support on the road


    NEW ORLEANS — Perhaps it was the chance to witness the first USF-Tulane game ever, or an opportunity to frolic in the French Quarter for a weekend. Or both.

    USF running back D'Ernest Johnson (2) stiff-arms Tulane cornerback Parry Nickerson (17) on a run during the second half of an NCAA college football game in New Orleans, La., Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Derick E. Hingle) LADH111
  4. Joey Knight's takeaways from USF-Tulane


    1. Saturday's triumph will do little to fortify USF's strength of schedule, but its strength-of-character quotient might have increased. On the road facing an eclectic offense, the Bulls built a huge lead, then made critical plays in the waning moments after some defensive lapses. In short, they survived. Isn't …

    South Florida defensive end Greg Reaves (41) reacts after a defensive stop against Tulane during the first half of an NCAA college football game in New Orleans, La., Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Derick E. Hingle) LADH107
  5. No. 16 USF hangs on at Tulane, off to first 7-0 start


    NEW ORLEANS — After half a season of mismatches, USF found itself in a grudge match Saturday night.

    USF quarterback Quinton Flowers (9) runs for a touchdown against Tulane during the first half of an NCAA college football game in New Orleans, La., Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Derick E. Hingle) LADH103