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Mitchell (6A) and Wiregrass Ranch (7A) advance to region finals Friday

Published:   |   Updated: May 8, 2013 at 01:26 PM
TRINITY -

6A-3: Mitchell shuts out Winter Haven

Mitchell is making school history with each postseason game it plays. Florida State commit Cobi Johnson's performance on the mound led Mitchell to a 7-0 victory against Winter Haven and into its first region final.

“We're a momentum shifting kind of team,” Mitchell coach Scott Wilcox said. “Once we get the momentum, that's where we're trouble. We did a great job of jumping out on good pitches and making it happen rather than waiting around for something.”

Unlike the Class 6A-Region 3 quarterfinal against Sebring, in which Mitchell's bats came alive late in the game, the Mustangs wasted no time in seizing opportunities. Mitchell (24-5) jumped on Winter Haven starting pitcher Trenton Gantt and scored three runs off three hits in the first and added a couple more runs in the second inning.

Winter Haven (24-5) was held to six hits on the night. Mitchell also took advantage of three Winter Haven errors.

“I wanted to come in and get ahead of the counts with my fastball,” said Johnson, who had six strikeouts.

“That was huge for us to not have to come from behind and being able to work from ahead. We all want to go to state and we believe this is the team to do it.”

Mitchell is now tasked with hitting the road for the first time this postseason. In terms of the trips other region finalists must embark on, the Mustangs don't have it too bad. They'll stay in the Tampa Bay area and travel to King High in Tampa. The 24-3 Lions blanked Osceola on Tuesday, 12-0.

Andy Villamarzo

7A-3: Wiregrass stops Warriors

The numbers were one-sided. The writing, practically, on the wall. The Wiregrass Ranch High baseball team knew Steinbrenner had owned the series all season.

“I didn't have to remind them what they'd done to us — they knew, they, we all did — wanted this to be Steinbrenner,” Bulls coach Jeff Swymer said. “We did it, and man, it feels good.”

Swymer and his young team are feeling good because they shut down district foe and nationally ranked Steinbrenner 4-0 Tuesday in a Class 7A-Region 3 semifinal to advance to a region final for the first time.

Junior starting pitcher Zach Drury threw a complete-game shutout, allowing just two hits while walking four and striking out five in 102 pitches.

“What a roller coaster we've been on with this kid,” Swymer said of his ace, who improved to 8-5. “He was shaky in the district semifinals, but I challenged it and he had to earn it back.”

Drury would work out of three jams, including in the third and fourth innings when he would strand two Warriors base runners each time. And in the sixth, Steinbrenner (22-3) loaded the bases with one out, but Drury got Chase Turner to hit into an infield pop and Danny Rodriguez into a grounder to the pitcher.

That performance spoke volumes since Steinbrenner had already beaten Wiregrass three times this season by a combined score of 20-1.

“(Steinbrenner) was probably expecting us to roll over and not play and we didn't do that,” Swymer said.

Warriors starter Gideon Dunn (9-1) lasted 41/3 innings and allowed two runs to suffer his first lost of the season. The Bulls (20-9) got runs thanks to an RBI double by Michael Campoamor, an RBI single by Shane Bucenell, a sacrifice fly by Austin Drury and an RBI single by Ryan Girard.

Mike Camunas

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