LAKE PLACID - Two innings was all Lake Placid needed to send Avon Park home for the summer. The team scored two runs in the first, and nine in the second, for an 11-0 win to set up a rematch with Sebring on Tuesday for the Dixie Ozone (11-12) district tournament championship game.
Results were not available at press time.
"All we wanted to do is get this one out of the way," said Lake Placid coach Tracy Carpenter. "This was the big game tonight. Because we heard they're taking the district winner and runner-up to state now."
The plethora of rain outs led tournament officials in both the Ozone and AAA (9-10) to adjust the brackets and now Lake Placid and Sebring will both move on to the state tournament in East Lakeland on July 12 regardless of the outcome in the final round.
"It will be us and Sebring up there again," Carpenter said. "Longtime rivals."
Lake Placid's Katwan Ward started the game with a leadoff walk, an ominous sign for Avon Park, which would cycle through three pitchers before the game was called after four innings on account of mercy rules.
Erskin Toliver sent Ward to second with a single of his own, and Ward scampered home on a wild pitch soon after. Cody Carpenter rounded out the scoring for Lake Placid, bringing home Toliver with an RBI groundout.
Avon Park also had its only defensive highlight of the night in the first inning. Lake Placid's Jace Johnston swung at a strike-three and Avon Park catcher Eli Fautheree zipped the ball down to third, where Mason Huafoy was waiting to tag Cody Jolley for the double play.
In the second inning, paced by Carpenter and Kamari Brown, Lake Placid again flexed its offensive muscles. Brown blasted a two-run home run to make it 4-0 and Avon Park quickly switched pitcher Gunner Leonard for Abe Cervera hoping to slow down Lake Placid. But after walking three consecutive batters, Carpenter cleared the bases with a three-run single, extending Lake Placid's lead to 7-0 and giving him his fourth RBI of the game.
Later in the inning, Royston Daley had the highlight of the game. After reaching on a single, Daley showed off his foot speed, racing all the way around from first base to home plate on a wild pitch.
"This has been pretty typical of our offense," Carpenter said, whose Lake Placid team has scored in the double digits in back-to-back games since falling to Sebring 15-4 in the opening game of the tournament.
Lake Placid bounced back with a 13-1 win over Okeechobee in an elimination game to stay alive in the tournament. "We've been error free and stayed disciplined behind the plate."
Meanwhile, Lake Placid's pitching staff couldn't have had a better night. Quiuesmael Sholtz got the start, and was followed by Jolley, and Lane Grazaini closed the game.
The trifecta combined for a three-hit shutout. Avon Park's Leonard and Huafoy recorded all of the team's hits, all of which were singles, with Leonard earning two of them.
"I have seven, great wonderful pitchers," Carpenter said, who added that he's always looking for ways to get them time on the mound. "I'm just blessed with that. They're ready to go at anytime."
The loss was the second consecutive shutout for Avon Park, whose offense struggled since walloping Okeechobee 10-5 on Friday afternoon. Sebring shutout Avon Park 14-0 on Saturday to knock them into the loser's bracket.
Lake Placid needed two wins to earn the district title, while unbeaten Sebring needed just one victory to wrap up the championship.
For the complete story and photos be sure to read the Highlands Today sports section.