Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Baseball: Sickles takes out Saladino frustrations on Plant

TAMPA —The last time Sickles took the field, it lost a heartbreaker when Alonso scored a two-out run in extra innings to knock the Gryphons out of the Saladino Tournament.

So as they prepared to take on tournament champion Plant, Levi Gilcrease, determined not to let the last-second disappointment happen again, had a quick word of advice for his teammates.

"I just told the guys before the game, 'Just be relaxed,' " the rightfielder said.

Sickles took heed, staying patient through four scoreless innings before Gilcrease helped the Gryphons take off in the fifth with a two-RBI double on their way to a 4-0 win against Plant.

Panthers ace Jake Woodford and Sickles' Shane Haight started the night off well, as each starter allowed just one hit through the first four innings. In the fifth, an Isaac Southers single and a walk put two on for Sickles (8-4, 2-2), and Southers scored the first run on a Plant (11-3, 5-0) throwing error.

Then Gilcrease saw his chance.

The former Cambridge Christian player, who came in with a team-leading 12 RBIs, added two more to that total with his double before Troy Bacon singled in another run for good measure.

The momentum-grabbing double was just the spark the Gryphons needed, and coach Bob Pagano wasn't at all surprised by who delivered it.

"I expect (Gilcrease) to do it all the time, that's the problem," Pagano joked. "I expect a lot out of him, and he comes through. …He gives us a lot of oomph that we need."

Haight's day would be done after Plant heavy hitter Kyle Tucker hit a home run to rightfield in the bottom of the sixth. Haight gave up three hits and struck out four in five innings. Grant Baker had a similarly successful outing, stifling Plant's attempt at a late-game comeback.

After losing in extra innings to Alonso, Gilcrease said the coaches reminded them that they had played their best. The Gryphons' frustration, he said, was still palpable.

There's still a lot of season left to be played. But Gilcrease said he thinks a win against a strong Plant team, who came in riding a 12-game win streak, will put extra pep in the Gryphons' steps as they work to complete it.

"It's huge," he said. "We've lost a couple districts games that were close, so it's nice to win a close game against a real good team."

Baseball: Sickles takes out Saladino frustrations on Plant 03/18/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 18, 2014 11:10pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Family a driving force for University of Tampa pitcher David Lebron


    TAMPA — For University of Tampa junior pitcher David Lebron, baseball reminds him of family. He uses it to help honor the memory of his father, who taught him the game. One day, he hopes his career can help support his mother and allow her to rest.

    University of Tampa junior pitcher David Lebron (Courtesy of University of Tampa)
  2. L.A. delay could re-open Super Bowl chance for Tampa in 2021


    Construction delays on the NFL's new stadium in Los Angeles mean the Rams and Chargers won't be playing there until 2020, a year later than expected, and the ripple effect could give Tampa another chance at landing a Super Bowl in February 2021.

    Tampa and Raymond James Stadium last hosted a Super Bowl in 2009, when the Pittsburgh Steelers edged the Arizona Cardinals.
  3. Bucs' Gerald McCoy, Jameis Winston honored in NFL top 100


    Helping fans pass time through the offseason each summer, NFL Network has been unveiling its top 100 players for 2017 as chosen by the players, and the Bucs' Gerald McCoy and Jameis Winston are the first Tampa Bay players revealed, coming in at No. 52 and 57, respectively.

    Bucs quarterback Jameis WInston and defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, shown in the 2016 season finale against the Panthers, have both been named to the NFL Network's top 100 players for 2017.
  4. The play occurred in the third inning when Angels rookie Nolan Fontana, making his major league debut, tried to slide past the tag of Rays second baseman Michael Martinez.
  5. Former Gator Caleb Brantley paying a steep price for nothing


    It turns out Caleb Brantley isn't quite the dirtbag that millions of people presumed. It's too bad the damage to his reputation and bank account is already done.

    Caleb Brantley, who dropped to the sixth round of the draft, works out during Browns rookie minicamp. [Associated Press]