TAMPA — Stephen Chamblee gave his hitting a better grade than his pitching after Plant defeated Bloomingdale 10-2 for the Class 8A, District 7 championship.
Chamblee, a Florida Atlantic commit, went 3-for-3 with a walk, had two RBIs during an eight-run third and tossed a complete game as Plant beat Bloomingdale a third time this season.
The Panthers (22-5) , who lost to Durant in last year's district semifinals, had 13 hits and put the game away early. Eight batters had at least one hit and seven had an RBI by the third inning as the Panthers took a 9-0 lead.
"It was a good feeling knowing to go on the mound with that big of a lead," said Chamblee, a senior right-hander. "There is no pressure, and you can be relaxed."
Chamblee allowed seven hits, struck out three and walked one. Seventy-four of his 104 pitches were strikes, and he retired nine straight Bulls (17-9) during one stretch. Both runs he allowed in the sixth were unearned, though they snapped a 191/3-inning scoreless streak Plant had against Bloomingdale.
"(Bloomingdale) faced (Jake) Woodford twice, and now they got Stephen," Plant coach Dennis Braun said. "These guys dominate in the zone. They've got three pitches, and we play good defense. That's a combination of shutting guys down."
Thirteen Panthers batted in the third with eight getting hits. Ryan Ellis' RBI single ignited the rally, and Jake Bak followed with a two-run double. Woodford, Carter Leslie and Cooper Dickens added RBI singles before Chamblee drove in the final two with a single.
"I haven't won district since my freshman year," Chamblee said. "(On Thursday), my hitting was an 8 (on a scale of 10), and my pitching was a 7. I could have kept the ball down a little bit more."
3A-7: Will Potosky had pitched just 15 full innings all season for Bishop McLaughlin before its district final against Tampa Prep (17-10). But coach Jeff Swymer still decided to start his usual closer in the biggest game of the season to date.
It paid off for the Hurricanes, who beat Tampa Prep 2-0 for the school's fourth district championship.
Bishop McLaughlin (17-7) scored a run in the first inning on an error by the shortstop, and Zack Kampsen drove in another for good measure in the second inning.
Potosky gave up six hits in his complete-game shutout.
4A-10: Twice during the regular season, Berkeley Prep beat district rival Tampa Catholic. In the fourth inning of Thursday's district final, Bobby Albers came up with a winning hit to make sure the Bucs would go 3-for-3.
With runners on second and third, Albers singled, driving in a pair of runs and giving Berkeley Prep (15-12) a 3-2 lead. Spencer Meyers followed later in the inning, executing a squeeze play to drive in the fourth and final run of the night.
Senior Dante Bosnic, who came in with a 1.20 ERA in 46 innings pitched, earned the win on the mound.
Berkeley Prep coach Justin Houston doesn't know exactly why his Bucs have been so consistently successful against the Crusaders (16-9). But with the playoffs just around the corner, he doesn't think they've seen the last of their district foe.
"I think that a couple breaks went our way instead of their way and that was the difference in the game," he said. "They're a good ball club and we're a good ball club, and I'm sure we'll see them soon."
2A-7: Cambridge Christian trailed Bayshore Christian by four runs heading into the seventh inning of Thursday afternoon's district championship game. And though the Lancers had a big final frame — plating three runs at the last minute — it wasn't enough to take the title, and they fell 8-7. Cambridge Christian (13-7) and Bayshore Christian (9-4) combined for seven runs in the first inning, and the Lancers took a 4-3 lead into the second.