LAND O'LAKES — Timely hitting and clutch pitching are aspects of the game Wesley Chapel coach Chuck Yingling has implored his team to be ready for against quality teams down the stretch.
Wednesday's game versus Land O'Lakes, whom the Wildcats defeated 9-5 on April 8 at the Big Sun Challenge, displayed both the hitting and pitching Yingling has been looking for, and it resulted in a 6-5 victory.
"It was nice to see some clutch hitting versus a really good baseball team with good pitchers," Yingling said. "And also to get a good second game with (Land O'Lakes) helps the growth of our program."
Wesley Chapel (19-3) held a 2-0 lead after a Robert Dumas home run off of Conner Coplon. The Gators took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the third on a Steven Rasario single to leftfield that scored Gino Pepenella from third, but Rasario was thrown out at second to end the inning.
Tied at 5 in the top of the seventh, the Wildcats' timely hitting came into play. With two outs, junior Geoff DeGroot singled to rightfield to score Matt Wynne from second base.
Wynne, who had four strikeouts, faced Pepenella with runners on first and third and no outs in the bottom of the seventh. And he provide the clutch pitching by striking out Pepenella and Trae Urban and getting Rosario to ground out to end the game.
"We didn't play good enough to win, and that's all that matters," Land O'Lakes coach Calvin Baisley said. "We have to make contact with the ball. That's the difference between good teams and average teams."