TAMPA — Gaither coach Frank Permuy calls his squad resilient.
And with good reason.
Early in the season, district rival Alonso was all the rage. Come district tournament time, Mitchell and no-hit whiz kid Patrick Schuster received all the buzz. But when the dust settled, Gaither was celebrating its 10th district title.
The resilient Cowboys kept their ride alive Tuesday night, coming from behind and receiving clutch pitching in a 2-1 Class 6A region quarterfinal win against Durant.
"Maybe these kids just don't know any better," said Permuy of his team, which has won six games in a row and is 24-6 overall. "Every team has its own style and this team's style is to stay calm. They should be nervous sometimes but they stay calm."
The Cowboys could have gotten nervous when they fell behind 1-0 to the Cougars (13-13) in the second inning. But they followed with a run-scoring sacrifice fly from Alejandro Brunet and a run from Kory Wan scored on a wild pitch.
With a 2-1 lead and the scoring done, Gaither's pitching turned out to be key.
Starting pitcher Austen Thraikill threw four innings, yielding just one hit and the one run. Freshman left-hander Alex Milne came into the game with runners on first and second and no outs. He retired Durant's batters in order to escape the jam.
He came up big again in the seventh inning, getting the Cougars to hit into a double play before striking out the final batter.
Another meeting with rival Alonso.
"It should be fun," Permuy said. "You can never count them (Alonso) out. They pitch well and they can take advantage offensively. They're a great team. We'll go over there and see what happens."