The Trenton softball team is heading back to the final four.
Senior Darian Ingram tossed a 2-hit shutout as the defending 2019 Class 1A state champion Tigers (18-1) defeated visiting Dixie County, 4-0, in front of a standing room only crowd at John A. Vickers Field on Tuesday night.
“We’ve worked hard,” said Trenton coach Todd Bryant. “We’ve been working on a game plan for basically a month knowing that it was going to come down to tonight and the game plan worked, the kids executed it pretty well, and Darian threw well.”
The Florida Atlantic University signee struck out 11 batters and only allowed two runners in scoring position in her final home game in a Tiger uniform.
“Honestly, it just doesn’t feel real,” she said. “We’ve been here before and everyone is extremely happy, we’re all proud of each other, but it just doesn’t feel like this was our last game here together. That hasn’t kicked in.”
Ingram was locked in early. She struck out two in the first inning and struck out the side in the second inning.
She finished with at least one strikeout in every inning and only had two walks.
“Darian was her typical self,” Bryant said. “If they’ve got to put the ball in play, they’re in trouble.”
Dixie County had one hit in the second inning and a bunt single in the third inning, but that’s all they could manage against Ingram.
“Darian is an excellent pitcher,” said Dixie County coach Greg Wimberley. “If you can’t put together consecutive hits, you’re not going to beat that team.”
The Tiger offense got the only run it would need in the second inning.
With two outs, Brandy Dees singled to right field. The next batter, Ellie Sessler, doubled to left to score Dees to make it 1-0.
Stetson signee Keeli Zingaro made it 2-0 on a solo home run to right field in the third inning that seemed to get the team going.
“We have seven seniors on the team, and I think every single one of us want this so badly,” Zingaro said. “We will do anything it takes to get there.”
All three losses for the Bears (20-3), ranked second in the state, came to the top-ranked Tigers.
“Excellent season,” Wimberley said. “We’ve got a young group of girls and everybody, but one, will be back. We’ve only got one senior. We’re looking forward to next year.”
Trenton will play Branford in next Tuesday’s Class 1A state semifinals at Legends Way Ball Fields in Clermont. The Buccaneers (15-4) advanced with a 14-3 win against Taylor County (Perry).