NEW PORT RICHEY — Wiregrass Ranch ace Zach Drury’s dominant junior season continued to roll Thursday night against another one of Pasco County’s top teams.
The standout right-hander struck out 10 batters in five nearly flawless innings to lead the Bulls to an 8-1 road victory over Ridgewood.
“Same thing we’ve been seeing all year,” Wiregrass coach Jeff Swymer said.
And the result was the same it has been almost all year for the Bulls (9-2), whose nine victories have all come by at least three runs.
Drury did his part to ensure another lopsided win early. He pitched two perfect innings before the Rams (8-6) finally mustered a hit — a two-out double to right-centerfield by Tristan Ficarro. Drury fanned the next batter to end the threat.
“He battles,” Swymer said. “That’s what I like about him.”
That, plus a wicked curveball and a cutting fastball that has risen to 91 mph.
Drury also showed an improved command, throwing 56 of his 83 pitches for strikes to pick up his fourth win in five starts. He fanned two batters each inning to record his fourth game with at least 10 strikeouts while lowering his ERA to 0.27.
After the hiccup in the third inning, he allowed only two more baserunners: Tim Osborne singled in the fourth, and Joey Macaluso drew a walk.
“It seemed like everything was working tonight …” Bulls catcher Alex Goebel said. “He was making guys look silly out there.”
Wiregrass’ offense was nearly as impressive during a four-run second inning that broke open the game. The Bulls scored on a wild pitch, and Marcus Guzman’s two-out RBI single extended the lead to 3-0. Goebel’s two-run double added to an insurmountable deficit.
A speedy, opportunistic Bulls lineup helped its cause with 14 stolen bases, including five in the first inning.
“First pitch, every pitch, you’re stealing,” said Drury, who was also 2-for-3 with a walk and an RBI.
Tyler Vito brought home Ridgewood’s only run on a sac fly in the sixth.
The Rams have lost three of their past four games and will have to regroup quickly against Wesley Chapel tonight in a battle for first place in Class 5A, District 8.
They could be without second-year coach Julius Matos, who was ejected in the fifth inning for arguing with an umpire. Ejections for unsportsmanlike conduct often carry two-game suspensions, according to Florida High School Athletic Association rules.