PLANT CITY — A 6-2 win over Durant on Friday gave host Plant City the top spot in Class 7A, District 7, It also gave the Raiders their ninth straight win and a sweep of their nearby rival.
With Strawberry Crest half a game behind and one district game left against winless Tampa Bay Tech, a coin flip with Plant City (17-4, 9-1) could decide the top seed in the upcoming tournament.
Noelle Dietrich earned her 13th victory for the Raiders, scattering nine hits and working out of three bases-loaded jams. Dietrich started a 1-2-3 double-play with the bases loaded in the top of the fifth to avoid further damage after Durant (14-7, 6-4) tied the score at 2 with two runs earlier in the inning.
"My defense bailed me out," Dietrich said. "We knew what we had to do to get out of those."
Plant City coach Maggie Feix noted that it was not all about the defense, crediting her pitcher with keeping Durant hitters off-balance when she needed to the most.
"She moves the ball," Feix said of her right-handed ace. "She doesn't have a ton of speed, but she has great location and some spin."
Kacie Booth had three of Plant City's 10 hits and walked once to reach base all four times. She followed Emily Register's RBI double with a run-scoring single in the Raiders' two-run first, then highlighted a four-run fifth with a two-run single.
Plant City's most productive inning came after Durant scored its only runs on RBI singles by Kelli Tidwell and losing pitcher Sloan Hammons in the top of the fifth. The Raiders got four runs in the bottom of that inning with Register adding a run-scoring single and Makenzie Allen a sacrifice bunt.
"That's huge, because it shuts down any momentum they have," Feix said.