SEBRING — Sebring edged Lake Placid on Sunday to win the Dixie AAA (ages 9-10) District 8 Tournament by a score of 3-1 at Max Long Complex.
Sebring blanked Lake Placid the day before by a score 10-0 in the four-team, double-elimination tournament, but Lake Placid showed up ready to fight for the championship and fell just short of its goal.
The winner and runner-up of the district tournament advance to the state tournament. Both teams will be in action in Arcadia July 11 when the state tournament begins.
“Lake Placid is scary. I was a nervous wreck the whole game,” said Sebring AAA coach Kirby Whitehouse. “I think my kids came in a little too relaxed knowing we put 10 runs on Lake Placid the day before. The kids are 9 and 10 years old. It is hard to tell them it would be different. They did good — they didn’t let the pressure get to them. I think it got to me more than it did the kids. We were peaking at the right time. I’m super proud of them.”
Lake Placid’s offense was clicking in the bottom of the first inning as James Swaford drew a walk, advanced to second and third base on wild pitches and scored on a sacrifice fly by Holden Martin for a quick 1-0 lead.
Sebring answered in the top of the second inning.
Fabion Ayala-Narvaez hit a ground ball past the pitcher that rolled to second for a single. Nathan Andrews bunted and was thrown out at first, but Ayala-Narvaez advanced to second.
Jonathan Delgado doubled to put runners at second and third base.
Ayala-Narvaez scored when Owen Lowe grounded out to second base to tie the game.
In the bottom of the inning, Lake Placid’s Chase Rykaceski walked resulting in Sebring pulling Nathan Andrews, who pitched the day before.
Delgado came on and struck out the next to hitter to end the inning.
Sebring struck again in the top of the third inning
Kevin Rosario hit a single to right field, Jacob Jackson singled to left field and Rosario tried to take third on a wild pitch.
The Lake Placid catcher sailed into left field, which allowed Rosario to score and take a 2-1 lead.
Delgado squashed a Lake Placid rally in the bottom of the frame. The hard-throwing right-hander threw out Alan Torres at first after he bunted and fanned the next two batters.
“Delgado came in and it was lights out,” Whitehouse said. “He is a solid as you can get right now. Delgado kept them off-balance and did great.”
Sebring added an insurance run in the fourth as Reid Whitehouse scorched a pitch through the infield for a single and Ayala-Narvaez tripled to score Whitehouse to make it 3-1.
Lake Placid wasn’t able to overcome its funk in the bottom of inning. Things looked promising when Chase Lane caught a break when Sebring’s catcher put his glove in the way of his bat. Lane took his base on a call of catcher interference, but was left stranded on first.
Delgado settled down and sent Swaford down swinging and retired Martin with a pop fly. Joey Warner went down looking to cap the inning.
Neither team could muster any offense the rest of the way and Sebring retired Lake Placid in its final at-bat to secure the district title.
Both teams can look forward to playing in the state tournament in three weeks.
“The game went really well,” said Lake Placid Coach Mike Warner. “It was a battle on both sides. It was a great ball game for everybody. We had a few errors that were costly today. We hung right in there though. I’m proud of my boys and how they responded, the way they played. We just came up a couple of runs short to a great team in Sebring.”