By DON JENSEN, Times staff
© St. Petersburg Times, published April 27, 2001
TAMPA -- On a windy night, the Class 5A, District 11 championship game turned into a blowout -- and one of the biggest wins for third-year Plant coach Augie Quintero.
The Panthers (16-10) used a nine-run fifth inning and took advantage of eight Chamberlain errors for a 10-1 victory Thursday. It was Plant's first defeat of Chamberlain (27-2-1) since 1998, snapping a string of eight consecutive losses against the second-ranked team in the Times Tampa Bay Top 10. "This win ranks right up there with the best, without a doubt," said Quintero, who guided Plant to a second-place finish in the 2000 state tournament.
"I'd like to think of us as a mini sleeping giant that woke up. Our goal this year, believe it or not, was not to go to state. Our goal was to beat Chamberlain."
Senior right-hander Jessica Hayden (4-2) pitched a complete-game four-hitter and sophomore centerfielder Dusten Minardi drove in three runs with a single and double.
But Plant did its damage in the fifth, when the Panthers erased a 1-0 deficit against previously unbeaten right-hander Amanda Cody (12-1).
Plant sent 13 batters to the plate, scoring nine unearned runs on six hits and six Chamberlain errors.
Cody, who pitched a perfect game through four innings, started the fifth by walking Lauren Alexander. A double by Tiffany Abbott followed and the Panthers never let up. Mary Ann Palios, Courtney Kuhn and Jessie Braggins delivered RBI singles, and Minardi punctuated the rally with a two-run single.
Both teams advance to Tuesday's regional playoffs. "The worst thing was not the physical errors," Chamberlain coach Bob Diez said. "Mentally, we just were not ready to play."
Hayden, who threw 50 of 80 pitches for strikes, scattered four singles, walked two and gave up one unearned run. "I'm not a power pitcher," Hayden said. "I just try to keep the ball in play, keep it low and get the outs. My defense was awesome." -- DON JENSEN
For the second time in as many games, Gaither put a scare into a higher-seeded team, but this time the Cowboys fell just short, losing to Sickles 3-2. Gaither, which upset Bloomingdale 2-1 in Tuesday's semifinal, will travel to Venice, which defeated Sarasota Riverview 3-2 in 6A, District 8. -- TIMES STAFF
Defending state champion Riverview defeated Sarasota 2-1 and will now get one of its toughest tests when it hosts Tuesday's regional against Chamberlain. Plant defeated the Chiefs 10-1 in the 5A-11 district final. -- TIMES STAFF
Miranda Gunn threw a four-hit shutout and Shanna Mallory had a two-out, two-run double in the third inning as Plant City defeated defending state champion Lake Region 2-0. Plant City will host the loser of 5A, District 7. -- TIMES STAFF
Mandy Schuerman pushed her pitching record to 20-3 as East Bay defeated Bradenton Southeast 10-0. East Bay (24-4-1) will host the winner of Northeast and Gibbs, which play today in the 4A, District 11 final. -- TIMES STAFF
First baseman Teaqua Gunn went 2-for-3 with a double, a triple and four RBI as Tampa Bay Tech defeated Leto 8-2 to capture its second consecutive district title. Chrystal Ihm earned the victory with eight strikeouts and scattered eight hits. Tampa Bay Tech will host the regional opener against Clearwater, a 4-3 loser in the 4A-9 final to Land O'Lakes. -- TIMES STAFF
Jennifer Jacobs struck out nine, walked none and allowed just four hits as Academy of the Holy Names defeated Tampa Catholic 4-1. The victory gave Academy a 2-1 edge in games against TC this season, and gave the Jaguars home-field advantage for Tuesday's regional against St. Petersburg Catholic, a 9-0 winner over Osceola in the 3A-9 final. -- TIMES STAFF
Lakeland Christian defeated Berkeley Prep 3-2, sending the Bucs on the road for Tuesday's first-round regional game against Bradenton St. Stephen's. St. Stephen's defeated Northside Christian 9-7 in the 2A, District 10 final. -- TIMES STAFF
Seminole Presbyterian scored nine runs in the first inning and went on to take an 18-0 victory over Tampa Baptist in Thursday's semifinal. Seminole (13-6) will now face Bayshore Christian in today's final at 5. -- TIMES STAFF