The Mitchell High baseball team had a good reason to celebrate during its spring break.
That's because it's not often a team can take a tournament title from its host, however, the Mustangs (15-3) did just that with a 4-2 win over Northeast in its tournament final on Wednesday.
“They did a good job hosting and it was a good experience for our boys,” Mustangs coach Scot Wilcox said. “It gives them confidence for when they need to come through and to just keep fighting and fighting. Plus, it's always nice to beat the host.”
Before getting to the final, Mitchell beat Largo 13-7 on Saturday, but also needed a walk-off win over Clearwater on Tuesday. In fact, Tuesday's game, according to Wilcox, might have been tougher, especially since the Mustangs blew an 8-1 lead, thanks to “a bunch of defensive blunders.”
“It was a tough game all around,” Wilcox said.
Clearwater scored five in the top of the seventh to force extra innings, but in the bottom of the eighth, Chris McCormick led off with double and then Marcus Begg drove him home.
In the final vs. Northeast, Eddie Goscicki and Josh Lamb homered and tripled to take a 3-1 lead, then FSU-commit Cobi Johnson did the rest. Wilcox said Johnson went out and threw a “perfect game.” Not statistically, however.
“It wasn't a real perfect game, but he did everything right by shutting them down completely,” Wilcox said. “There's a reason he's committed to Florida State.”
While the Mustangs had 13 hits, Johnson struck out 13, gave up seven hits, but walked none over 81 pitches and improved to 5-2 with a 1.71 ERA.
Despite this success, Mitchell will end up being the No. 2 seed at the 6A-District 10 tourney it hosts April 23-25 because it lost twice to Land O' Lakes.
“They have our number so far,” Wilcox said. “But that's why you play the game, plus we hope to see them again. All I know is anything can happen in the (tournament).”
Gators' first loss
The Gators had been riding an undefeated high for about half the season now, including an impressive six close calls that came in one-run wins, however, Land O' Lakes suffered its first loss during the Big Sun Challenge hosted by Ocala Vanguard.
Actually, the Gators got to 13-0 before losing two of three, including dropping a 2-1 game to Vanguard on Thursday. Land O' lakes did pick up wins vs. Middleburg and South Dade.
The Gators have a busy week with three games, including a chance to finish out district play undefeated by hosting River Ridge on Friday.
Many of the county teams saw action over the break, thanks to tournaments, both local and across the state.
Pasco and Fivay played in the Dunedin Spring Break Tournament, including the Pirates (10-6) and the Falcons (8-11) facing each other Thursday that ended with a 6-5 Pasco win, thanks to a walk-off double by Logan Johnson.
River Ridge (9-8) was also at the Dunedin tourney, but went 1-2 with losses to Countryside (7-2) and Osceola (5-0), but did get a win 5-4 over Central, thanks to a strong pitching performance by Tyler Hawks (3-1, 1.17 ERA) and Jason Heinrich (.412, 12 RBIs).
Sunlake (8-9) was also part of the Northeast High School Spring Break Tournament that Mitchell won, however, the Seahawks dropped its two games: a 3-2 loss to Northeast and a 12-2 loss to Clearwater.
Wesley Chapel (12-5) played in the South Lake High Crack of the Bat Spring Break Tournament in Groveland, with the Wildcats going 2-1 with a 9-2 win against Leesburg and a 9-8 walk-off win over Kissimmee Gateway on Thursday. Turner Imhoff had a team-high three RBIs en route to driving in the winning run.
Wiregrass Ranch (10-6) went 1-2 in the Calvary Christian Academy 4 Him Tournament in Fort Lauderdale, including a 4-0 loss to host Eagles. The Bulls did defeat St. Albans (Washington, D.C.) 4-3, while coach Jeff Swymer said junior Ryan Girard made the all-tournament team.