TAMPA — Lakewood Ranch (24-6) earned a trip to the 4A region semifinals with a 3-0 victory Tuesday at Jefferson.
The pitching duel was won by Seth McGarry, who held the Dragons to two hits. He beat Jefferson almost single-handedly, going 3-for-4 with an RBI and a double that was inches from being a two-run home run.
“I was sure when I was rounding first that it was gone, but the wind kept it in,” McGarry said. “On the mound, I usually start off rough and try to find a rhythm. I had a little trouble finding this umpire’s strike zone but by the end of the game I was able to find a better arm slot and throw the ball harder with a little more control.”
Jefferson’s Jimmy Herget threw six innings, striking out four while giving up three runs on seven hits.
McGarry’s speedy pickoff move was crucial in keeping the Dragons (21-5) at bay on the basepaths but Lakewood Ranch coach Mike Mullen was surprised by the lack of activity when Jefferson had runners on base.
“He’s been solid for us all year,” Mullen said. “He’s a battler and I think he has the highest baseball IQ on the team. He got away from his changeup but was able to throw the breaking ball for a strike. He was my choice for tonight because we thought they would run a lot. He has a good pickoff move and a low leg kick but I couldn’t believe they didn’t run more with the athletes they have on that team.”