PLANT CITY — Plant City softball coach Ashley Bullion is 4-for-4 after Thursday night.
Four years at the helm, four district titles.
The latest championship came in a 4-1 victory over East Bay in the Class 8A, District 6 final, a victory highlighted with the Raiders' signature solid pitching, sound defense and timely hitting.
The Raiders, for instance, collected eight hits, but four of those came in the fifth inning and one of those hits — a smoking double to deep centerfield by senior Beka Schulte — came with two outs and the bases loaded.
Plant City (20-6) scored three runs on Schulte's hit and finished the fifth by scoring all four of its runs — which was all the cushion Raiders starter Ashley Blessin needed.
"I felt confident the entire game (even after getting down 1-0 in the second inning on a solo home by East Bay's Haley Murphy)," said Blessin, a junior who now is 3-0 pitching in district title games. "I knew it was only one run and I knew we would never quit. I have that much confidence in my defense and our hitters."
Blessin, in return, gave her team plenty of confidence, allowing only three other hits besides the home run while striking out seven to earn yet another complete-game victory.
East Bay (14-13) made a final threat in the seventh inning, putting the first two hitters on base with no outs. The Indians' third hitter then hit a shot to leftfield, which for a moment looked like possible trouble for the Raiders.
But that's when Raider leftfielder Lexi Moore made a diving catch, popped up and doubled off an Indian runner at second base.
"Lexi Moore is amazing!" Blessin said. "I love Lexi Moore in leftfield. She makes great plays all the time, and she made another great one tonight."