Wesley Chapel passes test as Pasco rallies late

WESLEY CHAPEL — Wesley Chapel fans might want to start dusting off their brooms.

By way of Tuesday's 5-4 win against Pasco, the Wildcats swept the regular-season series and could have a chance for a true sweep in the Class 4A, District 7 tournament in a few weeks.

Funny thing is these teams could battle two more times based on how things shake out between the district tournament and playoffs.

So far, Wesley Chapel has proved the program's first victory against the Pirates — a 5-0 win in Dade City on March 5 — was no fluke. In fact, this was a more determined and well-rounded group of Pirates (9-2), with a six-game winning streak on the line.

In the end, Wesley Chapel (12-3) was still the only team to beat Pasco and now is in control of the district's No. 1 seed.

"Our kids are beginning to believe they can do it," Wesley Chapel coach Chuck Yingling said. "… They're good kids and they know they can play."

The turning point came in the bottom of the fifth inning. Ahead 1-0, Pasco escaped a bases-loaded jam in the fourth and there was a decision to be made. Pasco starter Brennan Allen had thrown 85 pitches after four innings, and there was a handful of available arms.

Instead of turning to the bullpen, Allen returned for the fifth.

Wesley Chapel made him pay with its first three batters reaching base, capped by Cole Miraglia's RBI single for a 2-1 lead that led to Allen's removal.

It was too late.

Wesley Chapel scored five times in the fifth with RBI singles from Geoff DeGroot, Drew Mitchell and Zach White. White would later score on an error to finish the inning with a 5-1 lead.

Pasco finally got to Wildcats starter Miraglia, who came within an out of a complete game. But not before Pasco worked him into a jam with a pair of Pirates on base with two outs.

Pasco pulled within 5-4, forcing Wesley Chapel to use two more pitchers including Brandon Mumaw, who finally finished off Pasco having allowed one hit and striking out one with just two batters faced.

The Pirates' offense was led by Cole Stancil, who finished 3-for-4 with an RBI.

"We just had some bad mistakes," Pasco coach Ricky Giles said. "When that started happening, they took advantage and we didn't do a good job."

Izzy Gould can be reached at igould@tampabay.com or (813) 421-3886.

Wesley Chapel passes test as Pasco rallies late 03/31/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 31, 2010 12:12am]

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