WESLEY CHAPEL — In Tuesday's Pasco County Varsity Baseball Tournament semifinal between Mitchell and Wiregrass Ranch, both teams were armed with solid hitting.
But in a matchup between top aces, it was Wiregrass' John Michael Gant edging Mitchell's Ryan Gilmore and shutting down the Mustangs' hot hitting by striking out eight and pitching a complete game in a 6-3 victory.
"I don't think (Gant) would have come out in the seventh inning even if I tried to take him out," Wiregrass coach Jeff Swymer said. "We battled and put pressure on them early, and that's what we wanted to do was score early to dictate the pace of the game. Great pitching will beat great hitting any day of the week."
Mitchell (10-3) was able to put together a scoring threat in the top of the first inning, when Gant (101 pitches) walked the first two batters. He was able to get Conner Hale to ground into a fielder's choice, and Kevin Games and Gilmore grounded out to end the inning.
The Bulls (9-4) took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the inning, with junior Joel Marin nailing a towering three-run shot over the leftfield fence. Wiregrass added runs in the second, third and fifth innings, and that's all Gant would need to earn his fourth win of the season.
"On a day like this good pitching will always hold down good hitting," Mitchell coach Scot Wilcox said. "(Gant) pitched really well and our guys just weren't able to make enough adjustments."
In the earlier games, Sunlake defeated Zephyrhills 4-3 and Pasco rolled past Fivay 13-3.