Avon Park leads Okeechobee

LAKE PLACID - Avon Park and Okeechobee were in the middle of a slugfest when heavy rains forced the game to be suspended in the bottom of the fifth inning in the Dixie Youth AAA (ages 9-10) district tournament on Monday night. Avon Park led Okeechobee by a score of 13-10 with Okeechobee at bat with two outs and the bases loaded. The game was finished on Tuesday night before the winner played Sebring for the district championship. Results from Tuesday's games were not available at press time.
Avon Park got rolling in the top of the first inning as Garrick Rowe was hit by a pitch, Brandon Gonzalez walked and Mason Price walked. A pair of wild pitches plated two runs and two infield errors allowed two more runs to cross the plate for a 4-0 lead. Avon Park right-hander Mason Price breezed through the Okeechobee batting order in the bottom of the inning. Avon Park went back to work in the top of the second inning as Stanley Holdman walked, Colby Cloud walked and Rowe drew a base-on-balls to load the bases. Nick Hayford came on in relief of Sherlock for Okeechobee. Gonzalez came through with a single to third base to plate a run and Sam Ferguson lined a two-run single to right field. Cooper Massey kept the hit parade going with a run-scoring single for a commanding 10-0 lead. Okeechobee refused to quit and battled back with three runs in the bottom of the inning. Hayford worked a one-out walk off Price, Sherlock singled to second base and Charlie Collins walked to load the bases. Jacob Hardy smacked a single to left field to plate Hayford and Landon Craig walked. Gonzalez came on in relief of Price, but Tylane McLane had an infield single to score a run and a wild pitch scored a run to trim Okeechobee's deficit to 10-3. Avon Park tallied a run to take a seemingly safe 11-3 lead, but Okeechobee rallied to score six runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Hayford singled, Justin Comfort singled and Collins lined an RBI single to right field. A pair of Avon Park errors scored three runs and Pyke Dawson capped the rally with a two-run double to left-center field to make it 11-9. Avon Park has gotten big leads during the tournament and had trouble closing games out and this game would be no different. Avon Park tallied a pair of runs in the top of the fifth inning as the rain began to come down harder to take a 13-9 lead. Okeechobee battled back once again by scoring a run to close within 13-10 with two outs and had the bases loaded when the game was called because the field became unplayable. The winner of the game had to beat Sebring twice to claim the district championship. For the complete story and photos be sure to read the Highlands Today sports section. mpinson@highlandstoday.com 863-386-5841