LAKE PLACID - On a night reserved for Lake Placid's senior ballplayers, one of the youngest Green Dragons shined brightest.
Sophomore Angel Ojeda belted a walk-off single Thursday night against Lakeland Christian, capping a 4-3 comeback for the Dragons on Senior Night at the Roger Scarborough Memorial Sports Complex.
"It's always great to win on Senior Night," Lake Placid coach D.W. Daum said. "And I'm just so impressed with Angel. We just brought him up from junior varsity tonight, and he had a great catch at third and had the hit of the game."
With the regular season complete, Lake Placid (6-12) will play Frostproof (5-13) on Monday in the Class 4A-District 9 tournament at Charles R. Head Field in Avon Park. First pitch is set for 7 p.m.
"We gave them one and they gave us one, and they were both close games," Daum said. "We're just going to need to work on our fundamentals - definitely our baserunning - and we want to make sure we don't let up in key situations. It should be a good matchup."
Against Class 3A Lakeland Christian (14-7), the Class 4A Dragons got off to a sluggish start. Lake Placid's bats were making solid contact with the ball, but it never seemed to drop for a hit.
The Vikings got on the scoreboard first, scoring a run in the third inning when Marcus Stump plated Taylor Morton with a sacrifice fly. Stump tallied his second and third RBIs in the fourth, blasting a two-run single to give Lakeland Christian a 3-0 lead.
Trading zeros in the fifth inning, Lake Placid took advantage of a slew of Vikings errors in the sixth. After Ojeda flied out, Isaiah Velasquez was hit by a pitch. Alex Miller followed with a slow roller towards third base, but Lakeland Christian's pitcher didn't set his feet on the throw, and the ball sailed over first base.
Now with runners on second and third, a wild pitch let Velasquez scamper home to cut the Vikings lead to 3-1. Tyler Carr singled, but Lakeland Christian's catcher made an errant throw while trying to hold Miller at third, and he sprinted home to make it a one-run game.
With Jacob Cram on the mound for the Dragons, Lake Placid silenced Lakeland Christian's bats in the seventh, setting the stage for a dramatic finish.
Cram led off with a single. Justin Mason reached when the first baseman dropped the ball. Trying to lay down a bunt, Justin Larosa was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Paul Cantwell launched what looked to be the game tying hit, but Lakeland Christian's catcher beat Cram to home plate.
With one out and the bases loaded, the Dragons' fate rested on Ojeda's bat.
The sophomore delivered, belting a single just over the edge of the infield dirt to score Mason and tie the game. Now it was up to Larosa.
Taking a big turn at third base, the center fielder did his best imitation of Pete Rose, diving head first into home plate to beat the tag and clinch the victory for the Dragons.
"I'm real proud of the guys," Daum said, pulling himself away from a rowdy celebration at home plate. "We didn't quit and we never gave up. I'm just real proud of them."