Lake Placid rallied from a six-run deficit and Nathan Stanley’s RBI single drove in the winning run to give the Green Dragons a dramatic 13-12 win in nine innings over Avon Park on Thursday night at Charles R. Head Field.
The Class 4A-District 10 win improved Lake Placid to 10-9 overall and 6-2 in district play. The victory also wrapped up second place for the Green Dragons heading into the district tournament in 10 days.
“This is a really huge win for us,” said Lake Placid baseball coach Dan Coomes. “We played terrible, made some fundamental mistakes that you don’t see in T-ball.
“But we had the heart and desire to battle back a bunch of times to get a big win.”
Lake Placid jumped in front in the top of the first inning as Stanley reached on an error, Morgan Lott got on because of another error and a fielder’s choice scored a run. Tyler Carr roped an RBI single and Jacob Cram lined a single to right field to plate Carr for a 3-0 lead.
Avon Park answered in the bottom of the second inning as Josh Gomez doubled, Kyle Kelley was hit by a pitch and Gomez raced home on a throwing error by Carr and another run scored on a wild pitch to make it 3-2.
The Red Devils went back to work in the bottom of the third inning as Alfred Brown singled, Tyrone Perry singled and a throwing error allowed Brown to race home.
Kyle Kelley ripped a run-scoring single off of Carr and Colton Brock lofted a sacrifice fly to make it 5-3.
Avon Park continued its hitting rampage in the bottom of the fourth inning off of reliever Justin Mason and Jacob Cram.
Gomez had a two-run triple and trotted home on a wild pitch to give the Red Devils a commanding 9-3 lead.
Lake Placid trimmed its deficit with a four-run outburst in the sixth inning to knock left-hander Gio Gomez out of the game.
Brock came on to retire the side, but it was now a 9-7 lead.
Avon Park tacked on a run in the bottom of the sixth inning to take a 10-7 lead into the seventh inning.
The Green Dragons refused to lose and rallied for four runs to take a stunning 11-10 lead.
The Red Devils rallied to tie the game in the bottom of the inning on a pair of walks, a wild pitch and an error.
Austin Stadie came on in relief for Avon Park and gave up a run in the top of the eighth inning, but once again, the Red Devils battled back and scored a run off Cram to tie the game at 12.
In the top of the ninth inning, Lake Placid’s Justin LaRosa singled, stole second base and scored on a single to center field by Stanley for a 13-12 lead.
“Justin had a good swing and stole second base and Nathan came through with a clutch hit for us,” Coomes said.
Avon Park got a pair of runners on in the bottom of the frame and had the winning run at second base with two outs.
But Cram, who earned the win with 5 2/3 innings of relief, induced a ground ball to second base for the final out to seal the win for the Green Dragons.
“Jacob did a great job in relief for us,” Coomes said. “He took the mound and threw mostly fastballs to keep us in the game.
“I’m really proud of all the guys because they didn’t quit, and this was a team win.”
Avon Park has two away games before playing in the district tournament, while Lake Placid hosts Clewiston on Thursday night in its final regular season game.
The Class 4A-District 10 tournament begins on April 22 at Frostproof High.
“This is the kind of grind it out win that can really spark a team,” Coomes said. “We’re going to keep playing hard and see what happens.”