AVON PARK - It's only preseason, but Lake Placid is still searching for its first win after losing to LaBelle by a score of 6-2 in the Bill Jarrett Ford Early Bird Tournament on Tuesday night at Head Field.
The youthful Green Dragons dropped a pair of games to Okeechobee last week and are searching for cohesiveness early in the season.
"We played well," said first-year Lake Placid baseball coach D.W. Daum. "They are learning each other a little bit. They missed some signs, left a lot of base runners on, we still have to get the mental aspect of the game. We only had one flagrant error and not putting the ball in play when we needed to."
After a scoreless first inning, Lake Placid broke the ice in the top of the second.
Senior Tyler Carr opened the inning with a screaming ground ball past the third baseman for a single into left field. He promptly stole second base to move into scoring position.
Alternating strikeouts and walks by LaBelle starting pitcher Jarred Miller loaded the bases with two outs.
Lake Placid's Brett Didemenico followed with a clutch single into left-center field to bring Carr home from third base and give the Green Dragons a 1-0 lead.
LaBelle tied the score in the bottom of the second as Travis Burchard led off with a single and Glenn Burton walked. Both were moved up on a sacrifice bunt Felix Hernandex.
With one out, Baylin McCormick, lined a single into right field to bring Burchard home and tie the score at one.
With runners on first and third with one out, Lake Placid starting pitcher Jacob Cram induced a come backer to start a 1-4-3 double play to end the inning.
After Lake Placid failed to score after having base runners on second and third with one out in the top of the third, the Cowboys scored three in the bottom half to take a 4-1 lead.
Jake Martinez led off the inning with a double down the third-base line, which was followed by Sergio Flores being hit by a pitch.
Both runners advanced on what started as a pick-off attempt at second that went over the second baseman's head.
Lake Placid had opportunities to get both base runners out and where unable to do so as the ball fell out the third baseman's glove on a tag.
With runners on second and third and no outs, LaBelle capitalized with back-to-back singles by Danny Keller and Miller to bring in three runs to take a 4-1 lead.
The Green Dragons added a run in the top of the fifth when Carr beat out an infield single to the third baseman and later scored on an error by the shortstop to cut the Cowboy lead to 4-2.
Lake Placid was unable to get any offense started in the final two innings and LaBelle rounded out the scoring in the bottom of the sixth with two more runs, both runs driven in by Justin Alderman's single into center field to cap the scoring in the 6-2 win.
Still waiting for his first victory as head coach, Daum is optimistic about how his team is progressing.
"We only have two seniors this year," said Daum. "We are just trying to put it all together."
Daum noted that they are performing fine in the field, committing only one error in each of the last two games and pitching wise they are coming along with the starters and middle relievers.
"We still have a couple of guys coming back from some sore arms and off season surgery," Daum said.
Daum and the Green Dragons will have another opportunity for their first victory on Friday night at Head Field in Avon Park against an opponent yet to be determined.