TAMPA — When assessing the potency of the Plant softball team's offense, it is best not to look at the top or middle of the lineup but at the bottom.
There, you'll find the name Grace Slone Collins.
At last check, she was batting .556 with five triples, four doubles and 18 RBIs.
"We're strong (Nos.) 1-9," said Panthers second baseman Hannah Ojeda, a senior who will play at N.C. State.
Through 22 games, Plant (19-3) boasted a .425 team batting average, a .483 on-base percentage and had produced 218 runs. Three regulars had .500-plus averages and three more were over .400.
"They come at you in waves," Chamberlain coach Bob Diez said. "They've got a very good lineup."
Not to mention a very disciplined one. Brains and fundamentals have been key to the Panthers' success.
"They've all been coached from an early age," Plant coach Melissa Sigmon said. "They know what they're doing."
That Plant is productive isn't a shock. That it has scored 10 or more runs 13 times and that it has only been blanked once is.
"I definitely knew they had ability," Sigmon said. "But I've been pleased that they're this potent. It hasn't been the same one or two girls, either. It's been all of them."
In 617 at-bats, the Panthers have one homer. They do, however, have 42 doubles and 19 triples, a good sign not only of the team's hitting skill but of its speed.
Plant's offensive success has come vs. bad opponents and good opponents. Against lesser teams, the Panthers have scored in bunches. Against the Chamberlains of the world, they've been able to manufacture runs thanks to timely hitting.
"We've got a little of everything," Collins said. "I definitely would not want to be an opposing pitcher."
|Class 6A, District 7 at Mitchell|
|Tuesday: Gaither (3) vs. St. Petersburg (6), 5; Mitchell (4) vs. Alonso (5), 7. Wednesday: Gaither/St. Petersburg vs. Sickles (2), 5; Mitchell/Alonso vs. Countryside (1), 7; Friday: final, 7||Gaither and Sickles could meet in the semis; they split regular-season games.|
|Class 6A, District 8 at East Bay|
|Monday: Sarasota (4) vs. Riverview (5), 2; Plant City (2) vs. Lakeland (7), 4:30; East Bay (3) vs. Sarasota Riverview (6), 7. Tuesday: semifinals, 5:30, 7:30. Thursday: final, 7:30||Top-seeded Durant is the team to beat, but any of the top-five seeds could win it.|
|Class 5A, District 8 at Tampa Bay Tech|
|Monday: Newsome (1) vs. King (8), 5; Bloomingdale (2) vs. Wharton (7), 7. Tuesday: Brandon (4) vs. Armwood (5), 5; Freedom (3) vs. Tampa Bay Tech (6), 7. Wednesday: semifinals, 5 and 7. Thursday: final, 7:30||Of the bunch, only Freedom has beaten Newsome.|
|Class 5A, District 10 at Plant|
|Tuesday: Leto (4) vs. Jefferson (5), 5; Chamberlain (1) vs. Middleton (8). Wednesday: Robinson (3) vs. Hillsborough (6), 5; Plant (2) vs. Blake (7), 7. Thursday: semifinals, 5 and 7. Friday: final, 7:30||Chamberlain-Plant showdown for the title seems likely. The teams split the season series.|
|Class 4A, District 9 at Davenport Ridge|
|Full schedule not available. Begins Monday at 6, final is Friday at 7. Spoto is in this district.||State power Bartow is expected to roll.|
|Class 3A, District 11 at Holy Names|
|Tuesday: Tampa Catholic (4) vs. Lennard (5), 4:30; Clearwater CC (3) vs. Berkeley Prep (6), 7. Wednesday: TC/Lennard vs. St. Petersburg Catholic (1), 4:30; CCC/Berkeley Prep vs. Holy Names (2), 7. Thursday: final, 7||Holy Names isn't a lock for the final; it is 1-1 with potential semifinal opponent CCC.|
|Class 2A, District 9 at Indian Rocks Christian|
|Tuesday: Bishop McLaughlin (2) vs. Indian Rocks (3), 2; Tampa Prep (1) vs. Calvary (4), 4. Friday: final, 4||Tampa Prep pitcher Kirsten Kelsey gives the Terrapins a chance every time.|
|Class A, District 9 at Seffner Christian|
|Thursday: final, Seffner Christian (2) vs. Sonrise Christian (1), 4||The Crusaders are 0-2 vs. Sonrise this season.|
|Class A, District 10 at Tampa Bay Christian|
|Tuesday: Bayshore Christian (2) vs. Tampa Bay Christian (3), 4. Thursday: final, Bayshore Christian/TBC vs. Cambridge (1), 4||Cambridge allowed two runs in district games this season.|
|Class A, District 11 at Canterbury|
|Mon.: Oldsmar Chr. (4) vs. Citrus Park Chr. (5), 4:30. Tues.: Academy at the Lakes (2) vs. Lakeside Chr. (3), 4:30; OC/CP vs. Canterbury (1), 6:30 p.m.; Thurs.: final, 4:30||Canterbury went unbeaten in district play.|