TAMPA — In a game that meant little more than bragging rights going into the district tournament, Bloomingdale ran over Plant 9-3 to wrap up district play.
The Bulls, who had already clinched the top seed for the Class 8A, District 7 tournament, jumped all over Panthers starter Alex Duke. The junior allowed six runs off four hits before he could record an out.
The Bulls (18-3) led 8-0 after their half of the first inning, sending their whole lineup to the plate before freshman Jake Woodford entered in relief and bailed out the Panthers.
Senior Austin Wilson, junior Kameron Wilson and senior Raul Lopez had RBI singles in their first at-bat for Bloomingdale.
Plant (13-6) answered in its half of the first thanks to Pete Alonso. The junior crushed a two-run homer to leftfield and finished 3-for-4 with a double and two RBIs. Alonso grounded out to shortstop to end the game, and the Panthers left eight runners on.
Woodford and fellow freshman Ronnie Ramirez gave Plant a chance by allowing only one run after the first inning, but Bloomingdale junior Cody Crouse was stingy after that first inning.
"I just got more comfortable," Crouse said. "I knew we were up, and I just wanted to speed the game up."
Crouse went six innings, walked one and struck out three and gave up only three hits and one run after that first inning. Aside from improving to 7-1, Crouse got one against his nemesis.
"We've never beat (the Panthers) since I have been here and lost 12-1 last time," he said. "I really wanted to just come in here and beat them."
Crouse's coach echoed the sentiment.
"This is a confidence-builder more than anything," said Kris Wilken, whose team split the season series with Plant.
The Bulls look like favorites in what has become one of the area's most competitive districts.
"It's fun. That's the first word that comes to mind," Wilken said. "There are no cupcake games in this district. You have to come out and play."