TAMPA — Kyle Tucker knocked in five runs with a home run and double to lead Plant over Jefferson, 8-2, on Tuesday in a rematch from last month’s Saladino Tourament final.
Although the Panthers won the Saladino title, Tucker was shut down in that game by Dragons pitcher Keon Cusic. On Tuesday, however, Tucker was more than up for the challenge by belting his Hillsborough County-leading sixth home run.
“We knew we had to get down and wait on the ball and do a better job of hitting,” Tucker said. “We saw (Cusic) before, so we knew how he was going to throw, so it was about doing a better job staying inside the ball and getting our runs in.”
Plant coach Dennis Braun picked up his 200th victory.
“Two hundred wins is a day to reflect on all the good players we’ve had,” Braun said. “I appreciate the guys we’ve had over these 10 years at Plant, because you don’t get 200 without all of them.”
Plant (17-5) senior Matt Vaka started things off in the second with a double to right field, and he later scored.
One inning later, Cooper Dickens led off with a double before Tucker muscled a home run over the right-field fence.
Alejandro Martinez answered in the top of the fourth with a home run, but it was all the Dragons could get off of Plant pitcher Stephen Chamblee (6-1), who allowed four hits and struck out three in six innings.
Tucker added a three-run double in the fourth, and Chamblee added the final run with an RBI single in the sixth.