Durant left-hander Jeramy Gomer normally needs just a sliver of support to assure victory. Friday night, he received an avalanche of offense. And much of it was from Daniel Tosca, his junior catcher.
Tosca had two home runs and a game-ending two-run double as the Cougars defeated the Armwood Hawks 11-1 in a five-inning Western Conference championship game at Sickles High.
"Our bats finally came alive," said Tosca, whose seventh-inning solo homer beat Jefferson 4-3 in Thursday night's semifinals. "I don't know what got into me, but I've got confidence at the plate and that's the most important thing.
"We wanted to score a few first-inning runs for Jeramy because he'll cruise after that."
Durant (16-9) might be the team to beat in next week's Class 5A, District 11 tournament, where host Armwood (14-9) is the No. 1 seed.
"We beat a very good team tonight," Durant coach Gary Graham said. "They lost a lot of seniors, but they have a first-year coach (Joey Fernandez) who really has the program going. They've surprised people all year long.
"Tonight, we just had everything clicking. We saw the Daniel Tosca we've been waiting to see. He had a great game (3-for-4 with 5 RBI). Plus, Jeramy only had to throw five innings. Things worked out really well."
Gomer allowed just three hits and struck out six. He took a no-hitter into the fourth, but Armwood's John Gorham and Nate Rogers led off with singles. Anton White had a fifth-inning double and scored on a groundout after advancing to third on Gomer's balk. That was Durant's only downer _ mostly because pitching coach Fran Thomas was ejected after arguing the balk call from the dugout.
Meanwhile, Durant had 14 hits off three Armwood pitchers. Gene Reynolds, Thad Ford, Ryan Raburn and Garrett Oakes each had two hits for the Cougars, who sent 10 batters to the plate in the clinching fifth inning.
"It was just one of those nights," Fernandez said. "Our pitchers didn't pitch that bad. They hit everything. You don't like to lose a championship game 11-1, but it's over and that's the way it turned out. Now we have to direct our energies to the district tournament and figure out how to succeed there."
Brandon captured the third-place game with a 4-3 win over Jefferson. The Eagles rallied for three seventh-inning runs. The final two scored on Todd Burney's squeeze bunt. Matt Midkiff scored, then Myron Leslie slid in to beat the throw from first baseman Marco Santana.