Class 6A, district 8
Plant cruises, Brandon ekes by to reach final
TAMPA — Plant dominated Wharton 11-0 in a shortened game and Brandon needed late heroics as both advanced to the Class 6A, District 8 title game.
Brandon (14-10) trailed 1-0 against Bloomingdale (16-9) heading into the seventh inning of a game that featured great pitching from the Eagles' Kayla Goff and the Bulls' Alexa Lopez.
After a leadoff double by Goff, an error by Bloomingdale shortstop McKenzie Carter and an RBI single by Cassandra Gonzalez, Brandon had the winning run on third.
Next came a squeeze bunt by senior Emilee Gwyn, scoring Gonzalez to send Brandon to regionals for the first time since 1992.
"I haven't called a squeeze in two years, but Gwyn is a senior and our best bunter. That was the time to do it," Brandon coach Jen Steadham said. "I keep telling the girls that if we keep on working harder than anyone else, good things will come."
Plant (21-4) had an easier time against Wharton (14-11). Rose Yanger didn't surrender a run over three innings to earn the win, and Sarah Bowling and Courtney Croney were a combined 5-for-6 with five RBIs.
"Our girls hadn't seen live pitching in 10 days, so we weren't quite sure what to expect, but we're happy with the result," Plant coach Melissa Sigmon said. "We're not going to take Brandon lightly. They have strong pitching; we're going to have to be on our 'A' game."
Sean Fitzgerald, Times correspondent