Danish lifts Durant to win
PLANT CITY LAKELAND TARPON SPRINGS TAMPA - At least for a moment, Tyler Danish made it interesting. The Durant right-hander, who hadn’t allowed an earned run throughout his senior season, held a two-run advantage with two outs in the fourth inning when he hit a pair of Sarasota Riverview batters on consecutive pitches to fill the bases. “I just got a little lazy on my mechanics,” said Danish, who escaped by fanning Alex Detweiler on three pitches for one of his 12 strikeouts en route to a two-hit, 2-0 region quarterfinal victory. Durant scored both of its runs in the third on a RBI single by Luke Heyer and a sacrifice fly by Paxton Sims off junior left-hander Cory Labsan, who pitched a no-hitter in a postseason game last year.Danish, who worked the last two innings in a steady rain, said the bases-loaded jam unsettled him a bit. “It’s in the back of your head every time you go out there,” he said. “To keep the streak going was huge. Even if it would have ended tonight, we got the win and it’s OK with me.” Kevin Long allowed just four hits through six innings and struck out nine as the Plant City High baseball team outlasted Lakeland Jenkins and the rain for a 2-1 victory Thursday in a game shortened to 661/27 innings because of rain in a Class 7A-Region 2 quarterfinal. In the sixth inning, the rain picked up, but the umpires let the teams try to finish the game even though puddles started forming on the infield. Long had a hard time gripping the ball in the bottom of the seventh and hit the first batter he faced. After a sacrifice bunt and an infield grounder took out a runner at third, Long hit another batter. With two outs, Sayge Woodham hit an RBI single to right to tie the game. The hit came one pitch after the wet bat slipped out of his hands and went flying toward the Jenkins dugout. The umpires then stopped the game. Since the inning wasn’t completed, the score reverted back to the start of the inning and Plant City was awarded the victory. There was controversy after the game about how the rule was applied, but Plant City coach Michael Fryrear said he had not heard from the FHSAA about a change in the ruling. “The rain was a big factor in the last inning,” said Long (8-3). “I couldn’t grip the ball and kept slipping on the mound.” Plant City pushed the winning run across in the sixth when Sergio Garcia singled with two outs. He moved to second on a wild pitch. Mikie Wells followed with a single to left, but Garcia was held at third. After an intentional walk, Jenkins’ ace Drew Carlton (8-2) hit pinch-hitter Juan Mendoza. It took 10 innings, but heavily favored East Lake finally defeated Wharton 1-0 in a Class 8A-Region 2 quarterfinal. It was a hard-fought ending for a Wharton team that made it to region after going 0-10 in its district during the regular season. The Wildcats ended their season 12-15, while East Lake improved to 24-3. Dixie Hollins High’s batting lineup couldn’t get to King’s Brett Morales on Thursday. Neither could a weather delay. Despite a half-hour lightning delay in the fifth inning, Morales was unshakable, pitching a complete-game shutout, allowing only three hits and striking out 11 in the Lions’ 1-0 win in a Class 6A-Region 3 quarterfinal. “A lot of (surviving the delay) is the mental part, if you start thinking you’re too tight, but he did really well with that,” King coach Jim Macaluso said. “That’s a tough thing to do. … I’m proud of him.” At one point, Morales, struck out seven of 10 batters he faced and retired 12 consecutive hitters. He didn’t allow a hit after the seventh. King’s run came in the third inning after a leadoff double by Buddy Terp and a sacrifice fly by Devon Pedro. Also Saturday (noon), the Brooks-DeBartolo game at Lakeland Santa Fe Catholic will resume in the fifth inning with Brooks-DeBartolo leading, 3-1.