By Bob Bellone, correspondent

PLANT CITY – Plant City ace Parker Messick may have been a bit too good for his own good in a 7-0 whitewashing of Class 8A-District 6 rival Durant on Thursday night.

Messick struck out 11 batters and worked himself into, and out of some early trouble. With his pitch count at 101 through six innings, the senior left-hander was forced to watch from the dugout as Jarod Wingo put the finishing touches on their combined shutout.


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Durant (1-2, 0-1) threatened early and often, stranding eight runners through four innings. Messick (2-0) escaped a pair of bases-loaded jams, including one in the first.

“Everybody says I love to scare the team because I like to live up to those moments, but I definitely do not do it on purpose,” he said, grinning. “I just try to get the outs and do my best to not let anybody score.”

Plant City senior Parker Messick struck out 11 in district 
win over Durant. (813Preps file photo by J. Guthrie)

Chris Rodriguez broke a scoreless tie in the fourth inning with a two-run triple and raced home with the third run for Plant City (3-0, 1-0) on a wild pitch.

“I was just looking for something to hit hard the other way because they brought the infield in and the outfield too. He left the change-up hanging, and I got enough of it to get it past the left fielder,” said Rodriguez, who drew walks in his other two plate appearances.

The Raiders put the game well out of reach in the sixth inning. Mario Williams extended the lead to 5-0 with a two-run double, and Cade Shissler brought him in with his second home run of the young season.

“It’s good to start off hot, but I’ve just got to keep it going through the season,” Shissler said. “I can’t be complacent with where I’m at right now.”

Bob Bellone, with more than four decades of experience in sports reporting, returns for his second season with