TAMPA — Plant's relentless offense was too much for Brandon to handle, as the Panthers cruised to a 12-2 victory in the Class 6A-8 district championship Thursday. The victory was also the 200th of Plant coach Melissa Sigmon's career.
Plant fell behind 2-1 after the top of the second inning, but rebounded in the bottom half when the first five batters reached base and the team plated three runs.
Kaitlyn Steckel was 3-for-3 with two runs scored, and Erika Arcuri smashed a double and a triple to go with three RBIs for Plant.
"We knew their pitcher was going to throw a lot of first-pitch strikes, so as a team we focused on that," Arcuri said. "To win districts and get Coach Sig's 200th win on the same night was cool, but we want to win states and we believe we can do it."
Ashley Schnitzler and Ashley Cozart each scored a run and had a pair of hits for the Panthers. Leadoff hitter Emily Mitchell was a bright spot for Brandon, collecting two of team's five hits and driving in a run.
Plant played solid, error-free defense behind pitcher Miranda Clark, who earned the victory by striking out five and allowing only the pair of earned runs.
"We were aggressive and tried to score early and often. We're playing well at the right time of year," Sigmon said. "The key for us was team hitting. When the whole team can execute like that you're going to win a lot of ball games."
Sean Fitzgerald, Times correspondent