TRINITY — Last season was extremely tough on Mitchell High pitcher Madison Stanilou.
As a sophomore, Stanilou played in only 11 of the team’s 26 games in 2013, battling injuries. Stanilou, as a freshman, was seemingly the next phenom pitcher in Pasco County, going 9-2 with an impressive 1.05 ERA and 123 strikeouts.
Now, finally healthy, Stanilou is back on the mound and paired with senior hurler Jordan Fowler, gives Mitchell has one of the best pitching tandems in the area and an 18-1 record with possibilities of a deep postseason run.
“I knew we had Jordan returning, which she basically carried us last season,” coach Scott Bisbe said. “Madison battled a knee injury last season and it was tough on her. We try to have both of them pitch in every game. We don’t want either taking on too much of the workload. I know when teams have done that to us in the past, it definitely throws us off.”
The unique ability to throw two high-quality pitchers any given night has proved to be an effective approach by Bisbe, as the Mustangs have only yielded only 15 runs (10 earned) through 19 games. That’s because Fowler is 9-0 record with a 0.55 ERA and 72 strikeouts, while Stanilou is equally as impressive at 8-1 and 67 strikeouts.
“Halfway through last season I started pitching in every game,” Fowler said. “Sometimes we split games and we both have different pitches that we mix in throughout the game. If I got in trouble last season, there was no one to really come in for me. Now with Madison back, it’s not all on me when it comes to pitching.”
Also bouncing back this season for the Mustangs is the team’s offense.
Mitchell’s team batting average is .427 and the Mustangs have scored 184 runs off 215 hits, with 73 of them being extra bases or home runs.
Now with the Fowler-Stanilou combo on the mound to complement Mitchell’s bats, the Mustangs are primed to make a run at states.
“I know what really helps us this season is we have a great hitting lineup helping our pitchers,” Bisbe said.
“When you get up and score the ball and pitch well, it deflates the other team. That’s something we just didn’t always have much of last season was scoring runs. I don’t want to think too far down the line with the playoffs. We want to take it one game at a time.”
Correspondent Andy Villamarzo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @avillamarzo.