ZEPHYRHILLS — Most pitchers might have wanted to finish a no-hitter, even if it was their first game of the season.
But Wesley Chapel pitcher Brandon Mumaw knew that it didn’t really matter this early in the season. The 5-foot-8 senior threw five no-hit innings and struck out 11 batters en route to a season-opening 6-1 victory over Zephyrhills on Wednesday night.
“I threw a lot more pitches than I wanted to,” Mumaw said. “I knew I had a pitch count; it’s best for my arm not to pitch more than I need to. I would rather sit on the bench and let our other guys finish up the game.”
The Wildcats (1-0) scored runs in a variety of ways, as they took a 1-0 lead in the first inning off a double-steal attempt that landed Zach White home. In the third inning, White nailed a double to centerfield past Bulldogs centerfielder Jamal Roberts that scored Cody Schaubert, and later in the inning centerfielder Drew Mitchell scored on a fielder’s choice.
Wesley Chapel added two more runs in the top of the sixth to stretch its lead to five, but Zephyrhills (1-1) posed a big scoring threat in the bottom of the inning against Wildcats reliever Matt Wynne with two on and no outs. Wynne got out of the jam and allowed only one run.
Mumaw was limited to 74 pitches in his five innings. Coach Chuck Yingling had wanted his ace to throw 60-65 pitches in Wesley Chapel’s first game.
“Well, our first two preseason games we had more enthusiasm and excitement,” Yingling said. “Maybe we had two good games because we just didn’t execute tonight. Without Brandon’s performance tonight we would have struggled.”