NEW PORT RICHEY — John Michael Gant's right arm may need a little rest after Thursday's game at River Ridge.
And after throwing 115 pitches and striking out 10 in a 2-1 eight-inning Wiregrass Ranch win, Bulls coach Jeff Swymer said Gant's arm will be getting the time off.
"That was a pitching duel," said Swymer of the showdown with River Ridge's Tommy Peterson. "I can't say enough about their pitcher and I can't say enough about our pitcher.
"That was one of the best pitched games I've seen since I have been up in (Pasco County)."
Through six innings, Gant and Peterson (82 pitches) combined to allow only four hits as they struck out 14.
"I knew we were playing a quality team and we had to score runs and play good defense to stay in it," Peterson said.
In the top of the seventh, Wiregrass (10-2) broke the stalemate when Joel Marin and Jose Gonzalez reached safely to begin the inning. After Ryan Madden struck out and replacement runner Jimmy Owens was caught stealing, Gant came through and singled in Gonzalez. River Ridge (4-7) answered, loading the bases in the bottom of the inning. Cody Boland scored on an infield single by Tyler Cabral.
Bulls third baseman Cyler Porter came up clutch in the top of the eighth, hitting a double deep to centerfield off River Ridge relief pitcher Cam Hokanson with two outs to knock in Chris Kluender from third. Gant would take care of the rest, getting Mike Alford to pop out to Marin to end the game.
"It was pretty intense," Gant said of the pitching duel. "Thanks to my defense we were able to win."