LAKELAND — A disappointing loss to Gaither in last week's district final sent Alonso on the road for its Class 6A region quarterfinal game Tuesday. The fact that Lakeland, a team that was ranked No. 2 in the nation just two weeks ago, awaited them didn't make the Ravens' task any easier.
Now after dispatching the Dreadnaughts with a commanding 7-1 victory, the Ravens are looking forward to their next road game on Friday — at Gaither — in the region semifinal.
"From what happened last time, we're ready to play them again and take it to them," said junior pitcher Thomas Dorminy, who held Lakeland to one run and three hits over 41/3 innings despite battling the flu.
But the story was the Ravens' offense, which scored all seven of its runs with two outs. Alonso (24-3) struck first in the third on a two-out, run-scoring single by Matt Brandy followed by a two-run triple by Dorminy. Tyler Ding's two-out, two-run triple, followed by a Casey Smit RBI single, capped a three-run fourth.
"It's hard to get two-out hits and two-strike hits," said Alonso coach Landy Faedo said, whose club is undefeated in 11 road games. "We just preach to hit the ball and sooner or later things will fall in."
By Lakeland coach Michael Campbell's count, six of Alonso's 11 hits came with two strikes.
"That's the mark of a pretty good club," Campbell said. "I thought they handled this big-game atmosphere very well. I'm surprised we got hammered, but I wasn't surprised that they came in here and played as well as they did."
With the bases loaded in the first, Dorminy induced an inning-ending double-play ball. He also stranded runners at second and third in the third.
"He gutted it out and made the pitches he had to make," Faedo said.
Reliever Jordan Huchro sealed the win for the Ravens, retiring eight of nine, four by strikeout.