LAKE PLACID - In a game dominated by strong pitching and missed scoring opportunities, Sebring put together a four-run rally in the top of the seventh inning and held on for a 5-3 win over Lake Placid in the Dixie Youth AAA (ages 9-10) district tournament on Friday night.
Sebring played Okeechobee in a winner's bracket game on Saturday, while Lake Placid faced Avon Park in an elimination game.
Results from the games were not available at press time.
The usually potent Sebring offense left 10 men on base through the first four innings, but strong pitching by Cope Brewer and solid defense kept the boys in blue in the game.
"Our bats weren't there for a while, but we found a way to get it done," said Sebring coach Kirby Whitehouse. "We left a lot of men on base, but we kept battling and finally got some key hits.
"Cope threw one of the best games I've ever seen and really picked up the team."
Lake Placid, which got great pitching performances from Tiger Youngman and Layton Harrison, just couldn't push across the winning run in the late innings.
"We had our chances and I'm proud of our boys to take a team as good as Sebring to extra innings,'said Lake Placid coach Michael Warner. "Tiger and Harrison pitched well and we had a couple of good chances to pull this out, but we've got to bounce back, shake this loss off and get after it the next game."
Lake Placid took the lead in the bottom of the third inning as Ethan Vanderpool reached base on an error, moved to second base on a ground out and scored on a double down the third-base line by Chase Rykaceski to make it 1-0.
Sebring left the bases loaded in the second and third innings before finally getting on the scoreboard in the fourth inning.
Brewer was hit by a pitch, advanced to third base on a pair of wild pitches and raced home on a passed ball to tie the game at 1.
The hard-throwing Harrison retired Sebring in the top of the sixth inning and Lake Placid loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the frame.
But Brewer bore down to strike out the next two batters and shortstop Reid Whitehouse made the play of the game by knocking down a ground ball up the middle and flipping to second base for the force out to end the inning.
"That was a heads-up play by Reid," Coach Whitehouse said. "To get out of a bases loaded, no outs situation without giving up a run is remarkable."
Sebring took advantage of new life by scoring four runs in the top of the seventh inning behind several base hits and a pair of costly Lake Placid errors.
Brewer had an RBI double and Sam Lieske capped the inning with a two-out run-scoring single to make it 5-1.
Lake Placid refused to fold and staged a rally against right-handed reliever Jonathan Delgado.
Two hits and a pair of Sebring errors scored two runs and Lake Placid had the winning run at first base.
Sebring's Zack Doorlag came on with two outs and got the last out to seal the opening round win.
"Zack did what we needed him to do," Coach Whitehouse said. "This was a good win and hopefully we'll get the bats going the rest of the tournament."