NEW PORT RICHEY — From watching the first three innings of the 5A-7 final between Land O'Lakes and Wesley Chapel, one likely would not expect that the game would end two innings early.
But the Gators combined strong fourth and fifth innings with strong pitching from Matt Fuglesang to win 10-0 and secure the district championship Thursday.
"We have played really good defense and if we get a few hits we are going to be in any game," Land O'Lakes coach Calvin Baisley said.
"Once we got a one-run lead and Matt (Fuglesang) got his groove I felt good about the game."
Wesley Chapel (10-14) had its chances in the first inning, but Fuglesang got Wildcat third baseman George Clark to hit into a double play to end the bases-loaded threat.
The Gators' (24-3) bats opened scoring with a run in the third inning. J.J. Downum scored from second base on a single by Trey Dahl to give Land O'Lakes the one-run lead.
The Gators pulled away in the bottom of the forth with four runs off Wesley Chapel pitcher Brett Lee.
Fuglesang held the lead and ended the game only allowing two hits, striking out seven and walking one.
"If we make a couple plays here and there and it could have been a different game," Wesley Chapel coach Charles Yingling said.
"It is a one-game season now and we just have to look forward to Tuesday (region quarterfinals)."