NEW PORT RICHEY — Both sides knew Thursday's matchup had the potential to be a low-scoring, speedy seven innings. With stars Madison Morlan of Gulf and Jordan Fowler of Mitchell on the mound, neither side would have an easy time at bat.
That prediction was accurate.
Mitchell shot ahead in the first inning and never let go, winning 2-1 in just more than an hour.
Morlan allowed the Mustangs (19-1) just three hits, but two resulted in runs.
"She's got a really good off-speed pitch," Mitchell coach Scott Bisbe said of Morlan.
"We just couldn't lay off of her."
Mitchell leftfielder Kassidy Neptune orchestrated the night's two key plays.
The first was in the bottom of the first. Kiera Delegro hit a double before Neptune homered to leftfield.
Her second came in the top of the fourth. Tarra Rice had just scored for Gulf (12-2), and Morlan was poised on third.
Neptune caught a flyball, and Morlan dashed for home. But Neptune's throw to Delegro got Morlan.
"Yeah, it was a big night," Neptune said with a grin.
Morlan pitched a complete game and struck out three. Fowler pitched four innings, allowing one run and striking out one. Madison Stanilou relieved and struck out two while allowing four hits.
Mitchell's schedule doesn't get any lighter going forward. The Mustangs face Osceola and Dunedin next week, and Bisbe said he's looking forward to both games.
Improving pitch selection will be important, but Bisbe said he doesn't plan to change much going forward — and for good reason. The Mustangs are the only team in 6A-10 still undefeated in district play (8-0).
Mary Kenney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @maryknews.