LAKE PLACID — The Lake Placid Dixie Boys All-Stars evened their best of three series against the Okeechobee All-Stars on Sunday afternoon. Gang Green tallied 16 runs to scoot past Okeechobee 16-15 at the Lake June Ball Fields. The second game of the doubleheader was postponed due to rain, and is set for 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Lake June Ball Fields. Okeechobee won the first game last week, 9-8 at the county sports complex.
Both squads are guaranteed a spot in the Dixie Boys (ages 13-14) state tournament, which will be played at the Max Long Complex from July 19-23. Since Sebring is hosting, it is automatically qualified for the tournament.
Lake Placid overcame a sluggish start offensively, and were down early after Okeechobee tallied two runs in the top of the second. But in the bottom of the third, a mishap on the bases let the team score its first run.
Quesmael Sholtz led off with a walk, and Toliver sent him to third with a single. But an overzealous Toliver got caught in a pickle between first and second. Thanks to Toliver’s quick feet, Sholtz had enough time to scamper home and cut Okeechobee’s lead in half before Toliver managed to avoid the tag and get back on first base.
Okeechobee countered in the fourth with two runs, moving ahead 4-1. Undaunted by the three-run deficit, Lake Placid erupted for five runs to take its first lead of the afternoon.
Michael Warner opened the inning with a single into right field. DJ Williams and Tay Williams followed with singles to load the bases, and Buddy Jolley wore a pitch to his forearm to take first and bring in a run. After Okeechobee recovered to retire Bailey Bevis, Jason Andrews plated two runs with a booming double to tie the game.
Unable to stop the bleeding, Okeechobee delivered a wild pitch past home plate and Jolley sprinted around from second base to give Gang Green a 5-4 lead. Katwan Ward capped the inning for Lake Placid with an RBI double into left field, bringing his team’s lead to 6-4.
Okeechobee nearly replicated Lake Placid’s fourth inning, when the team loaded the bases with the first three hitters to start the fifth inning. Lake Placid hit the fourth batter to walk in a run, and a defensive mistake let Okeechobee score two more runs to tie the game. Okeechobee’s Dylan Morris smashed a two-run double to put his team back on top 8-6.
From there, pitching took a back seat to the offense, as the two teams combined for 17 runs over the final two innings. Lake Placid ran out to a 16-11 lead in the top of the seventh, and seemed primed to close out the game with all the momentum.
But Okeechobee wouldn’t go quietly, and the team took advantage of a handful of defensive miscues to pull within one run of Gang Green.
With the bases loaded and two outs, Okeechobee was on the cusp of tying the game. But a long throw from center field connected with Jolley at home plate, and he was able to tag out Okeechobee’s runner before he crossed home plate.