DADE CITY — At the beginning of the season, it seemed almost inevitable for Mitchell.
Without star pitcher Patrick Schuster, now in the Diamondbacks' farm system, it looked almost certain the Mustangs would have a big drop-off in 2010.
Well, think again.
The Mustangs snapped Pasco's nine-year streak of reaching the state playoffs with an 8-6 upset in Wednesday's Class 4A, District 7 semifinals.
"It's just a wide range of emotions right now," Mitchell coach Scott Wilcox said. "Nothing is safe with (Pasco). We extended (Kevin Games) a little bit more than we wanted to. But he said, 'Coach, I want it.' And so we left him in there. It was a team effort."
Games' arm might feel a bit sore after throwing 122 pitches over 42/3 innings. But sophomore Garrett Kriston (three strikeouts) came up huge for the Mustangs (18-9) in the sixth and seventh innings with vital outs.
Pasco took a 3-2 lead into the top of the third. But Mitchell scored three in the inning, highlighted by infielder Joe Koehler's two-run home run off of Chris Dious that gave it a 5-3 lead. Mitchell later added two more runs to it advantage.
But Pasco cut into the lead on a Trey Dudley-Giles single that scored Dious and Travis Minton. The Pirates (16-6) got runners on first and second with one out in the seventh but could not tie the score against Kriston.
In the first semifinal, Wesley Chapel narrowly defeated Ridgewood 3-2 in a pitchers' duel between the Rams' Bob Peck and Wildcats' Cole Miraglia.
Miraglia struck out three batters over seven innings and homered in the bottom of the fifth off of Peck (three strikeouts) to give Wesley Chapel the lead for good.
"We played three tough games against each other this year," Wesley Chapel coach Chuck Yingling said. "They were back-and-fourth games."