LAND O’LAKES — Mitchell won its 18th straight game thanks to a little offense and a lot of defense.
The Mustangs scored two runs in the first inning and held on for a 2-1 win over Land O’ Lakes on Wednesday night. Starting pitcher Jackson Miller pitched 5 ⅔ innings, scattered two hits and allowed one run. Reliever Mason Miller (no relation) got the final four outs to save the game.
Gator starter Brett Gwinn wasn’t bad himself. He pitched six innings and only gave up the two first inning runs.
“Turned out to be a pitcher’s duel," Mitchell coach Howard Chittum said. “It was a great high school baseball game."
The game had a strange beginning. Keaton Howard led off getting hit by a pitch. He went to second on a passed ball and got to third on a wild pitch.
The second pitch hit the home plate umpire. Catcher Johnny Carlucci couldn’t see the ball coming out of Gwinn’s hand because of the sun.
Umpires and coaches met and agreed to delay the game 20 minutes until the sun was below the tree line.
“Field’s built backwards," Land O’ Lakes coach Calvin Baisley said.
When play resumed, Mitchell got it’s only two runs. Anderson Adler walked. Jackson Miller followed with a single that scored Howard. With two outs, an errant pickoff attempt at first allowed Adler to score from third.
The Gators got their in the second. Carlucci led off with a double down the leftfield line. One out later, Trey Skidmore hit a deep fly to center that allowed Carlucci to score.
That’s all the runs either team would get.
After the first inning, Mitchell got a runner to second only once, in the seventh inning.
The Gators had a prime chance to tie the score in the fifth. Chris Ferguson laid down a one-out bunt and the throw to first was wide. Ferguson was able to get to second base. Spencer Stephens walked to put runners on first and second.
Dakota Harris then ripped a line drive just to the right of the mound. Mitchell shortstop Adler was right there to snag the ball and flip to second base to double up Ferguson.
“I thought it was a base hit,’’ Jackson Miller said. “But (Adler) was positioned perfectly. That really gave us a boost.’’
Mason Miller got the final out of the sixth inning on a ground out. He struck out all three batters in the seventh.
“I did what I do best," Mason Miller said.
Mitchell’s two runs in the first were the first runs Land O’ Lakes had given up in 33 innings. The Mustangs (18-0) have seven days off before playing Zephyrhills next week.
Land O’ Lakes (11-3) plays district opponent River Ridge on Friday.