NEW PORT RICHEY — The ball raced through the outfield grass and looked as though it would roll forever.
And as a Pasco outfielder ran after it full speed, Mitchell's base runners moved around the bags with ludicrous speed.
What started as a sacrifice bunt developed into a two-run error and ultimately a winning play. Mitchell beat Pasco 3-1 for the Class 4A, District 7 title.
For Mustangs coach Scott Bisbe, it was his second district title in 10 seasons — most of those playing in Class 6A against arguably the state's toughest district.
"This was a great game," Bisbe said. "I wouldn't doubt if we see them again for a fourth time."
Pasco ace Courtney Brandt brought her best stuff on the mound with a game-high 11 strikeouts, upstaging Mitchell star Cortney Radke with five strikeouts.
Brandt worked her way out of a second-inning jam — Mitchell had runners on second and third with no outs — before Pasco took a 1-0 lead in the third inning on an RBI single from Megan Newsome that scored Kelli Parker.
Mitchell answered in the bottom half of the inning when Lydia Kinney, who reached with a leadoff single, scored from third base after a wild throw to first tying the score at 1.
The Mustangs came up empty on a bases-loaded situation in the fifth before a leadoff single by Cori Williams in the sixth. She was followed by the attempted sacrifice bunt from Jada Clemons, which led to the winning runs on the throw to the outfield.
Yes, this is a young Pasco team. But Lisa Herndon, in her first season as head coach, said she expected to be in the final to win it at the season's onset.
"We've got a young team and we just make some mistakes," Herndon said. "We started from the beginning making mistakes and we haven't picked it up. It's just us."
The irony of the situation is that Mitchell will host River Ridge, which lost 3-2 to Zephyrhills. The Royal Knights were the top seed, setting up a rematch with the Mustangs. The teams battled two weeks ago, Mitchell winning that one 2-0.
"I heard they lost," Bisbe said. "…You never can tell."