Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

4A baseball: Hernando shakes off early deficit to top Mitchell

Hernando’s Ian Townsend, right, celebrates with teammate Taylor Owensby after scoring a run.

CHRIS PRICE | Special to the Times

Hernando’s Ian Townsend, right, celebrates with teammate Taylor Owensby after scoring a run.

BROOKSVILLE — In its first state playoff appearance since 2004, Hernando proved itself worthy in the same way it has all season — with a comeback victory in the late innings.

Defending their homefield advantage, the Leopards defeated Mitchell 7-5 in the Class 4A region quarterfinals Tuesday.

"People have to beat us," Hernando coach Tim Sims said. "To play for me, you better have an extremely short memory."

Hernando (20-9) started slowly, as Mitchell starter Garrett Kriston retired the first 11 batters in order. He dominated, leading the Mustangs (18-11) to a 2-0 lead going into the bottom of the fourth.

Then the Hernando offense began to find its stroke at the plate. The Leopards scored two runs courtesy of three Mitchell errors in the fourth. That momentum was just enough to spark the home team. They plated another three in the fifth and two in the sixth.

Hernando ace Justin Gates, who was clearly laboring as the sixth and seventh innings came on, put on a workmanlike effort.

Though his line wasn't overly impressive (seven innings, seven hits, five earned runs), he pitched a complete game without surrendering a walk and struck out seven. With a two-run lead in the final frame, he struck out the final two batters in a 1-2-3 seventh.

"(Gates) looked at me because he didn't want to come out of the game," Sims said. "He was the key cog because he was there to finish this one for us."

. Up next

Region semifinals

Games Friday at 7

4A: Hernando at Wesley Chapel

2A: Bishop McLaughlin at Lakeland Christian

4A baseball: Hernando shakes off early deficit to top Mitchell 05/04/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 4, 2010 10:48pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Minors also a training ground for umpires with big-league dreams

    The Heater

    Umpire Tom Fornarola, 23, left, and Taylor Payne, 24, facing, talk before the start of the Gulf Coast League game between the New York Yankees and the Detroit Tigers at the Tigertown complex in Lakeland, Fla. on Wednesday, July 5, 2017.
  2. For starters: Souza not in lineup vs. Rangers



  3. Remember that famous Fred McGriff TV commercial? He's back, in a parody


    If you've ever seen Fred McGriff's TV commerical for Tom Emanski's Defensive Drills video it will always be fresh in your mind, with the deadpan delivery and famously ill-fitting cap.

  4. Fennelly: Is Charlie Strong the anti-Freeze?


    The Hugh Sleaze era at Ole Mess is over.

    Hugh Freeze resigned as head football coach Thursday to avoid being fired by Mississippi school officials. For those of you who had NCAA violations and investigations in the pool, you were wrong. Nor was it the defamation lawsuit filed against the school by former Rebels …

    FILE - In this Sept. 5, 2016, file photo, Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze pauses during a timeout in the team's NCAA college football game against Florida State in Orlando, Fla. Freeze has resigned after five seasons, bringing a stunning end to a once-promising tenure. The school confirmed Freeze's resignation in a release Thursday night. Assistant Matt Luke has been named the interim coach. (AP Photo/John Raoux, File) NY176
  5. Rowdies part of a record-setting season for USL attendance


    ST. PETERSBURG — Although Rowdies fans haven't had many recent opportunities to show out at Al Lang, the United Soccer League turnstiles keep turning at a record rate.

    A Rowdies fan waves flags ahead of the first half of the game between Tampa Bay Rowdies and Orlando City B at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Saturday, March 25, 2017.