Region baseball semifinals
Games at 7 p.m. Friday. Admission is $6.
Class 4A, Mitchell (23-6) at Hernando (24-5)
Outlook: Suddenly, a replay of last year's region final between Hernando and Dunnellon looks entirely possible. The Leopards have been stewing all offseason over that ugly 11-0 loss and are ready for another crack at the Tigers. Mitchell, though, might have something to say about that. The Mustangs are peaking at the right time, having won 10 of their past 11 games. On Tuesday, they completed one of the more improbable comebacks in Pasco County playoff history, rallying out of a 7-0 early hole against Land O'Lakes, then scoring four runs in the bottom of the seventh to overcome a three-run deficit and win 11-10. Teams have had trouble keeping Mitchell off the scoreboard. The Mustangs have scored 11 or more runs in seven of their past nine games, including every game since the start of the district tourney. Hernando has found a different hero each night in the playoffs. In an 8-5 district final win over Land O'Lakes, center fielder Ian Townsend hit a two-run home run and shut down a Gators rally in the sixth by gunning down a runner at home plate. In the region quarterfinal vs. Pasco, J.T. Simpson pitched seven innings, striking out 14, and walked with the bases loaded to plate the winning run in the ninth inning.
Up next: Winner faces North Marion-Dunnellon winner May 13.
Class 2A, Brooks-DeBartolo (12-14) at Bishop McLaughlin (21-7)
Outlook: Common sense says Bishop McLaughlin is a heavy favorite. The Hurricanes have defeated Brooks-DeBartolo three times this season. But common sense rarely makes an appearance in the playoffs, where unexpected upsets can derail once-promising seasons. Bishop McLaughlin has defeated Brooks-DeBartolo by a combined 26-14. In the Hurricanes' most recent win over the Phoenix (April 28) in the district title game, Dre Leal and Andy Olaniel combined to hold Brooks-DeBartolo to three earned runs on six hits in an 11-4 victory. Offensively, the Hurricanes' Tyler Cooler had four hits in five at-bats, including two triples, and Leal, Tanner Koch and Austin Ferlita each had two RBIs. In Brooks-DeBartolo's six-inning blowout win over Lakeland Christian in the region quarterfinals, Javier Reynoso had four RBIs and pitched a complete-game, three-hitter. Reynoso (.590) is one of a trio of Phoenix batters - Brenden Rivera (.538), Adam Eggnatz (.600) - hitting over .500. The three have combined for 23 home runs this season.
Up next: Winner faces Community School of Naples-Shorecrest winner May 13.