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WESLEY CHAPEL — An old-fashioned pitching duel between Pasco’s Cole Stancil and Wesley Chapel’s Brandon Mumaw left both teams scoreless through five innings of Wednesday night’s Class 4A, District 7 semifinal.
Then the bats came out — for both teams.
The visiting Pirates scored two runs in the sixth and three in the seventh inning before staving off a last-inning rally for a 5-4 win.
That gives Pasco a shot at avenging last year’s district semifinal loss to Mitchell, which defeated Fivay 11-1 in Wednesday’s other semifinal. Pasco plays Mitchell Friday in the championship at 7 p.m.
The two-time defending district champion Wildcats, who set a school record with 24 wins this season, had their three-year playoff run halted.
Outfielder Jesse Pavek, who missed nearly the entire season with a hamstring injury, got the winning hit in just his second game back in the lineup. He hit a bases-loaded, two-out double in the top of the seventh to stake Pasco to a 5-0 lead.
“When I came up I was just hoping to put it in play,” Pavek said. “It feels like I’m back.”
Trailing 5-0, Wesley Chapel scored four runs in the bottom of the seventh and had two runners aboard when Matt Wynne lined out to second baseman Clint Tedder to end the game.
Wynne was aiming to follow suit after Drew Mitchell’s two-run double and Geoff DeGroot’s RBI double to the gap in right-centerfield.
Stancil, who scattered five hits, convinced Pasco coach Ricky Giles to keep him in the game after he allowed those run-scoring doubles as well as a run-scoring single by Andres Romero.
“Cole, I put my hat off to him,” said Giles, adding that when he went out to the mound to remove his pitcher, “He looked at me and said, ‘Coach, I’ve got it.’
“I looked at him and said I’m going with you warrior.”