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WESLEY CHAPEL — In his two most recent appearances, Wesley Chapel left-hander Brandon Mumaw reached and exceeded his early-season pitch limit.
A week ago against Mitchell, Mumaw neared 100 pitches as he went the distance in a 5-2 win.
Playing Pasco on Friday, Mumaw nearly recorded his second complete-game victory in a row, coming within one batter before being pulled with two outs in the seventh inning and a pitch count at 106.
Which was just fine for an exhausted Mumaw, who was smart enough to see the bigger picture. Marcus Crescentini came on in relief for the final out. Wesley Chapel held on for an 8-4 win, and Mumaw picked up his fourth victory of the season.
“(Mumaw) had a little bit of a long sixth inning, and that seventh inning got away from him,” said Wesley Chapel assistant coach Chuck Yingling Jr., who was filling in as head coach for his father, Chuck Yingling Sr. “We try to keep our guys in the 85-90 range as much as possible.”
Mumaw (4-0) was staked to a 7-0 lead after two innings. Drew Mitchell scored the first run in the first after leading off with a single and scoring on a wild pitch from Pasco starter Logan Johnson. Two batters later, Mumaw hit a screaming liner back at Johnson that the sophomore right-hander managed to swat away with his hand before it nailed him in the head. Johnson broke the pinkie finger on his pitching hand on the play and was done for the evening.
In the second inning, Wesley Chapel (6-0) broke open the game with seven runs off reliever Cole Stancil. Zach White lined a two-RBI single to centerfield to give the Wildcats a 3-0 lead. Mumaw drew a bases-loaded walk to make it 4-0. A wild pitch brought home another run, and Matt Wynne finished the onslaught with a two-RBI double down the third-base line.
Stancil’s infield single in the top of the third scored Lewis Salas for the Pirates’ first run.
Tyler Brock crushed an off-speed pitch over the leftfield fence for a two-run home run that got Pasco (3-1) to within five in the sixth inning.
“My goal was once we got up seven runs let them hit the ball,” Mumaw said. “I just let that guy hit it a little too far.”
Mumaw allowed Salas and Malik Johns to reach safely to start the seventh before striking out the next two batters. He was pulled before he could complete his seven-hit masterpiece. Mumaw finished with seven strikeouts.
Crescentini relieved and immediately gave up an RBI single to Stancil. He hit the next batter, Brock, to load the bases and bring the tying run to the plate but got Trey Dudley-Giles to strike out swinging to end the game.
“I’m proud of them, even though we gave up some early,” Pasco coach Ricky Giles said. “They came back. Our bats have been a little bit slow, real slow right now. We just need to get a few more games under our belt.”