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6A-8 baseball: Pitching propels Alonso, Plant into final

TAMPA — Alonso edged Wharton 1-0 Tuesday in the Class 6A-8 district semifinals behind a dominant pitching performance by junior Jose Fernandez.

Fernandez did not allow a hit and struck out 11 Wildcats. Only four Wharton batters reached base, by either error or walk.

"I was throwing all of my pitches for strikes," said Fernandez, who only needed 85 pitches. "It's not my job to think about the no-hitter, I was focused on throwing strikes and getting outs."

Alonso manufactured the game's only run in the first inning. Tito Martinez hit a lead-off single, advanced to third on a fielder's choice and scored on a sacrifice fly by Matt Brandy. The Ravens managed only two hits off Wharton (12-12) starter Kyle Brett.

"That's how baseball is, some days we can hit anything and other days the hits don't come," said Alonso coach Landy Faedo.

Plant (17-9) defeated Brandon 2-0 in a hard-fought pitcher's duel in the other semifinal.

The Panthers' Max Rowe outdueled Brandon's (18-7) Austin Browder over seven innings, allowing four hits and striking out five. Four times Brandon's leadoff hitter reached base, but the Plant defense played well, completing a pair of double plays.

"Max has really stepped up and become our No. 1 starter; he's got a good sinker and induces a lot of groundballs. Hats off to our defense. They've worked hard at it," Plant coach Dennis Braun said.

6A-8 baseball: Pitching propels Alonso, Plant into final 04/27/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 27, 2010 11:34pm]
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