– Heath Harris tossed a two-hit shutout and Jacob Cram had three hits and knocked in two runs to lead Lake Placid to an 11-0 rout of DeSoto in the championship game of the Class 4A-District 10 tournament on Thursday at Webber International University.
The win improved the Green Dragons, who won their first district title since 2006, to 14-9, and earns them a home game in the regional quarterfinals on Wednesday.
“It means everything to be the district champions, especially since we haven’t won the title in a long time,” Harris said. “Our defense is coming around, our bats are coming alive and we’re doing a much better job with our two-strike swings.
“This is the best feeling ever and I’m happy for all of the seniors that we can go out as district champions.”
Lake Placid, which lost both regular season games to DeSoto made short work of the Bulldogs in the six-inning, 10-run mercy rule victory.
“We’re a lot different team than we were during the regular season,” said Lake Placid baseball coach Dan Coomes. “We’re getting better pitching, playing better defense and we worked on our two-strike swings about two weeks ago and that has come into play so many times in our last few games.”
The Green Dragons jumped in front in the top of the second inning as Laine Daum led off with a single, Tyler Carr was hit by a pitch and Cram, who went 3-for-4, lined a run-scoring single to right field.
Rufino Gutierrez singled to right field off Bulldog right-hander Donovan Day and Harris put down a bunt which Day threw wild down the right-field line allowing two runs to score. Rick Miller smacked an RBI single to left field and another run scored on a DeSoto error to give Lake Placid a commanding 6-0 lead.
Harris cruised through the Bulldog lineup with ease, as the senior allowed a pair of singles and struck our seven in a dominating effort.
“I wasn’t nervous and I got ahead in the count with my fastball and used my curveball for my out pitch,” Harris said.
Lake Placid, which banged out 12 hits, went back to work in the top of the fourth inning against right-handed reliever Will Nelson as Miller singled, stole second base and scored on a double to left-center field by Morgan Lott.
A ground ball moved Lott to third base and Carr lofted a sacrifice fly to center field to plate Lott for an 8-0 lead.
DeSoto never mounted a threat against Harris and the Green Dragon defense was flawless behind him.
Lake Placid tacked on three more runs in the top of the sixth inning as Daum reached on a two-out error, Carr singled to shortstop and Cram ripped a run-scoring single to center field.
An error plated a run and Gutierrez capped the uprising with an RBI single to right field to make it 11-0.
DeSoto managed to get the first two batters on base in the bottom of the inning, but Harris reached back and retired the next three batters to seal the district championship.
“I’m really proud off all the guys,” Coomes said. “I thought in the preseason that this team had the talent and ability to compete for the district title and they proved me right.”
Lake Placid hosts Tampa Catholic in a regional quarterfinal on Wednesday night.
“This is a pretty close-knit team that has fun,” Coomes said. “Playing in the state playoffs is a great opportunity for us going up against a quality team.
“We’re excited about playing in front of our fans and we’re looking forward to playing another game because a lot of teams are done for the season.”