TAMPA — Alonso's postseason run to the Class 6A state championship last year had its share of stops.
En route to claiming the state trophy in Port St. Lucie, the Ravens had to win on the road in the region tournament, earning wins at Lakeland and Melbourne.
This year, a return trip will include far fewer miles. Alonso claimed the Class 6A-8 district championship with a 9-5 win over Plant on Thursday, also clinching a first-round region quarterfinal at home Tuesday.
The Ravens (22-5), who won their first district tournament crown since 2007, head into the region tournament winners of 14 of their past 15.
"I think we're just playing better," said Ravens left-hander Thomas Dorminy, who struck out 12 and allowed just six hits over six innings. "I think we're coming together as a team more."
And while pitching and defense has carried this team far, Alonso's bats awoke with an 11-hit attack on Plant (18-10).
"We're swinging the bats way better now," Alonso second baseman Tyler Ding said. "We were a little cocky as first. We realized we could lose to anybody. Now, we take every game seriously."
Ding said following Tuesday's 1-0 win over Wharton in the district semifinals — a game in which Alonso had just three hits — the Ravens had a three-hour hitting session Wednesday, so their bats were ready Thursday.
"It definitely paid off," said Ding, who was 2-for-4 with two doubles, two runs and an RBI.
No. 8 hitter Shane Bishop drove in three runs, including two on a two-out single in Alonso's four-run first inning. Designated hitter Jose Fernandez and Dorminy each drove in two runs.