Plant City, Fla., wins TOSC
CEREDO-KENOVA -- T.J. Messick spotted them.
In his plain view were two of his players each hanging on to a side of the water cooler. Messick tried to run, but he was gobbled up by a pair of his assistants and a parent.
The Plant City (Fla.) coach deserved this victory splash. It had been a summer in the making.
Plant City squeaked by Bridgewater (Va.), 3-1, on Wednesday night at Mitch Stadium to take the Little League Baseball age 9-10 Tournament of State Champions title at Mitch Stadium.
"It means everything to me," Messick said. "This is the furthest our Little League has ever come, and for these boys to make it all the way here, it's unbelievable."
Not only did they make it to The Mitch and then proceed to conquer the rest of this tournament of state champions, they did it flawlessly.
Plain City never lost in district play. Never lost in its state tournament. Never lost in this regional event.
The boys from the west coast of the Sunshine State made it an 18-0 run when Parker Messick struck out Kyle Eagle to record Wednesday evening's final out.
It put the finishing touches on a perfect season as well as a near-perfect night from the Plain City pitching staff.
Starter J.J. Gonzalez provided some serious heat in his 4 1/3 innings, striking out six and allowing just three hits. In his relief, Parker Messick, the closer, picked up where Gonzalez left off, fanning four of the six batters he faced.
After the third inning, no Bridgewater runner got past first base.
"We have 11 pitchers on this team," coach Messick said. "Every one of these guys can sling the ball. I had five guys ready to go at any time. It was just kind of eeny-meeny-miney-moe, which one we want to go? And those two got it done.
"Every guy that we've put on the mound has pulled through no matter what."
Messick's son, Parker, pulled through the most on Wednesday.
Bridgewater's last big threat came in the bottom of the fifth inning when Addison Griffin roped a one-out single to left field. That would be the last batter Gonzalez would face, meaning Parker Messick would be thrown in to preserve the lead and keep Griffin at bay.
He did, striking out the No. 2 and 3 batters in Bridgewater's lineup.
"With a two-run lead, I figured it would still come down to the last out," coach Messick said. "And I really didn't worry about it. The pitcher on the mound -- that's my son, Parker Messick -- and he closed out the game the night before. He's been on fire of late so I had full confidence that he was going to go up there and throw strikes.
"That's really all he has -- a fastball. Here it comes go get it. ... I was really impressed with him."
Plant City got two of its runs in the first when it took advantage of three Bridgewater errors. Gonzalez ripped an RBI single to make it a 3-1 game in the fifth. The pitcher went 3-for-3.
Tanner Moyers had an RBI groundout in the third to give Bridgewater its only run.
PLANT CITY 200 010 -- 3 6 0
BRIDGEWATER 010 000 -- 1 3 4
Gonzalez, Messick (5) and Christian. Kimbrough, Garder (5) and Eagle.
Hitting: (PC) Gonzalez 3-3, 2B, RBI; Oyola 2B. (B) Moyers RBI.