Baseball: Long ball lifts Osceola over Mitchell

TRINITY — There wasn't much more Keith Weisenberg and Buddy Dougherty could do for Osceola Thursday night at Mitchell High.
The pair of seniors powered the Warriors' 3-0 victory from the mound, combining to toss a two-hit shutout, and the batter's box, accounting for five of Osceola's eight hits and driving in all three runs. Included in those five hits were two that sailed over the left-field fence, one for each senior.
“Hitting six-hole I don't even expect a lot of power out of myself,” said Weisenberg, Wednesday's starting pitcher, of his long, two-run homer in the sixth that put Osceola up 3-0. “So I surprise myself when I'm able to hit them like that.”
It wasn't his handiwork with the bat that had the 20-plus scouts crowded behind home plate, though. Weisenberg, a Stanford commit and highly touted prospect in this June's 2014 MLB First-Year Player Draft, kept the Mitchell bats largely at bay over five innings of work. He surrendered two hits and two walks while striking out seven.
“The mound was high so I was missing up a lot,” the 6-foot-4 righty said. “I couldn't really find the slider because I was getting underneath it, but I felt pretty good when I was able to get it down.”
Despite Weisenberg's top-end stuff and low-90s fastball, the host Mustangs weren't without their opportunities. Mitchell put a runner in scoring position in each of the first five innings.
“We were missing that guy to come up and punch the run in,” Mitchell coach Scot Wilcox said. “But that's easier said than done against a kid like Weisenberg that doesn't give up many runs.”
Similar offensive struggles continued for Mitchell when Dougherty took over to start the sixth. The senior gave up two walks and no hits in earning the two-inning save.
Prior to moving from third base to the mound, it was Dougherty that gave Osceola its 1-0 lead in third with his leadoff home run against Mitchell starter Jake Fowler.
“I had a nice swing tonight; felt it before practice and then carried it onto the field,” Dougherty said. “I just swung and then saw the outfielder completely turned around. I kind of had an idea [it was gone] but I still wanted to make sure.”
Dougherty came up a triple shy of hitting for the cycle Wednesday, finishing 3-for-3 with a single, double, home run, RBI and run scored.
Mitchell pitchers Fowler and Tyler Vanderveer turned in a quality night, Wilcox said, but it doesn't take much for a game to get away when up against Osceola with Weisenberg on the hill.
“It was two mistakes, really, but they made us pay for them,” Wilcox said. “In games like this it's going to come down to a few things.”
Wednesday's win secured the Class 6A District 10 top seed for Osceola (14-3, 3-0).
“On the bus we knew Mitchell's good,” Weisenberg said. “They showed up last year against us in the preseason, so we knew it was going to be a close game. But we were confident that if we did what we needed to do we would get the job done.”
Mitchell (11-7, 2-1) will now play to earn second place at Springstead (8-10, 1-1) next Tuesday. Tomorrow night's non-league game at Wesley Chapel will wrap up this week of play for the Mustangs.
Osceola also goes out of district play tomorrow night, hosting Pinellas County foe East Lake at 7 p.m.
Osc - 001 002 0 --- 3-8-2
Mit - 000 000 x --- 0-2-0
WP – Keith Weisenberg (6-1)
LP – Jake Fowler (1-2)
S – Buddy Dougherty (4)
Osceola (14-3, 3-0)
Buddy Dougherty – S, 2.0 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 2 K, 2 BB – 3-for-3, 1 RBI, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 2B
Keith Weisenberg – W, 5.0 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 7 K, 2 BB – 2-for-3, 2 RBI, 1 R, 1 HR
Jaret Helinger – 1-for-3, 1 BB
Mitchell (11-7, 2-1)
Jake Fowler – L, 4.0 IP, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 H, 2 K, 4 BB
Cobi Johnson – 1-for-3, 1 2B
Zack Detty – 0-for-1, 2 BB
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