I'm not going to write a long recap or just post the box score, because this is so much more than that.
I caught the end of the Strawberry Crest game (6-5 win in 9 innings) after The Ron and Ian Show went off the air and I saw the beginning of the Plant City game (8-0 shutout victory) before I went out to my own softball game at Greco. (Yes, we won 14-10 and I did NOT hurt myself)
So what I decided to do is to just give you some of my takeaways from these two incredible victories :
- Another Strawberry Crest win and another gutsy performance from Kade Manderscheid. That guy just goes out there and absolutely deals when his number is called. Taking over for Alex Marshall and pitching into the 9th FREAKIN' INNING was an incredible feat.
- Jacob Heath, or "Houdini" as I like to call him, did not lose his composure when things were looking bleak there in the 9th. Great job to him by just getting back to throwing strikes and trusting his defense.
- Speaking of Heath, the guy looked dialed in at the plate, as evidenced by his 4 RBI performance.
- The versatility is key for the Chargers. 4 guys played multiple positions in this game. Impressive.
- Ben Pues and Tanner Kelley also with some big knocks. The seniors rose to the occasion in this win.
- Joey Parrillo with a sweet bunt early and then a caught stealing late, was huge all day. He's such a leader on the field and really is willing to do anything to win.
- Dude......Parker Messick is a dude. 16 K's on the bump AND went yard?!?!?! That ball STILL hasn't hit the ground. There's been a lot of good players in Tampa this year, but NONE of them have made a bigger impact than Parker. Well done.
- It'd be really cool to see Tyler Dowdy hit the ball hard once this year. Juuuuust kidding. You know when you watch the Little League World Series and you see some kid from another country that's a foot taller than everyone and looks like he drove the whole team to the game?? Yeah, that's Tyler. He's making the park look small.
- 7 of the 9 players picked up a hit for the Raiders with Cade Shissler and Demario Williams picking up two apiece to bookend this Plant City offense. When Williams gets on and turns that lineup over - LOOK OUT - the runs are coming.
- Also, I like the nickname "Flash" for Williams. That kid can MOVE!
- Parker will get a lot of the credit, and deservedly so, but let us not forget the job by Hunter Emerine behind the plate, Whether it's Messick, Dowdy, Grant Gifford or Jarod Wingo, Emerine has kept these guys focused and brought the best out of them all year long.
And it all comes down to this. The Class 8A State Final on Thursday night at 7:30pm in Fort Myers between two schools that are literally 8.7 miles away from each other. Just think of the long tradition of baseball in this area. This will be the FIRST time two teams from Hillsborough County will square off in a State Championship game. I'm leaving the show early and racing down (within the Florida State speed limits of course) to see this historic matchup with my own two eyes. It should be a good one.
Congrats to Coach Beattie & the Chargers and Coach Fryrear & the Raiders.
May the best team win.
CLICK HERE for a recap of Strawberry Crest's win from our friends at 813Preps.com
CLICK HERE for a recap of Plant City's win from our friends at 813Preps.com