After taking a ball off his pitching hand during an at-bat in Thursday's district semifinal, Jefferson's Jimmy Herget wasn't certain he'd even be able to take mound in Friday's 4A-9 championship.
Not only did Herget take the ball Friday for the Dragons, but the sophomore right-hander also turned in one of his biggest performances of the year.
Herget tossed a complete game to beat Jesuit, striking out eight while allowing just six hits in a 3-2 victory that gave Jefferson its first district title since 2005.
"Jimmy pitched a hell of a game," Dragons coach Pop Cuesta said. "It was a great job."
Herget ran into his only trouble in the fifth, when Jesuit scored its only two runs on an RBI double by George Horrnik (2-for-3) and a sacrifice fly by Lance McCullers. By that point, however, the Dragons already had staked him to a 3-0 lead, including scoring a pair of runs in their half of the fifth via RBI doubles by Andre Davis and Einar Muniz.
"I was just trying to go out there and keep the ball low because they're a very good hitting team," said Herget, who threw 106 pitches.
DADE CITY - Sometimes a final linescore doesn't reflect the outcome of the game. This was certainly the case Friday night in the title game between Wesley Chapel and Mitchell.
The No. 3 Mustangs outhit top-seeded Wesley Chapel 9-4 but the Wildcats took advantage of four first-inning errors to claim their second consecutive district championship with a 3-2 win.
"We did lots of good things early," Wesley Chapel coach Chuck Yingling said. "I think both of us were a little tight. We got the first jump - that helped. (Mitchell) made a couple base-running mistakes and we took advantage of it."
Wesley Chapel (23-3) scored three unearned runs in the first inning as a result of three hits and four Mitchell errors. But the Mustangs (18-10) battled back with three singles and a sacrifice bunt to cut the lead to 3-2.
Mitchell had a great chance to tie or take the lead in the fifth inning as designated hitter Jordan Mizerak reached on an error and stole second. Cody VanDeBoe followed with a single to left but Wildcats left fielder Zach White fired a strike to catcher Justin Frost to throw Mizerak out. The play turned into a double play when VanDeBoe was thrown out at second trying to advance.
"We had some aggressive base running and some stupid base running," Mitchell coach Scot Wilcox said. "Our M.O. is to be aggressive on base and we have the guys to do it. We had some blunders and gave away a lot of runs."
Wesley Chapel will host Brooksville Nature Coast on Tuesday in the region quarterfinals while Mitchell, making only its second region appearance (2004), will travel to Brooksville Hernando, the 4A-8 champ.
BRADENTON - Jonathan Braam threw a one-hitter and Josh Thomas continued his torrid hitting as Bradenton Christian scored six runs in the fourth inning to break open the game and coast to a 10-0 win against Citrus Park Christian in the title game.
The Bradenton Christian defense played flawlessly and the Panthers' offense exploded for the second straight day. Thursday the Panthers scored 16 runs in a rout against Bayshore Christian in a game called after five innings. Friday it was more of the same, the game again stopped after five innings.
Thomas, who recently returned to the lineup after recovering from a bout of tendinitis, broke the game open with a three-run homer in the fourth. It was his fifth of the season and third in the last two days. He had four hits Thursday.
Michael Mauriello had the only hit for the Eagles.