Local Sports

Ozone All-Stars battle for title

— The only two teams left standing after Saturday’s action in the Dixie Ozone (ages 10-12) District 8 Baseball Tournament at Max Long Complex are Lake Placid and Sebring.

Lake Placid remained unbeaten with a hard-fought 14-12 win over Okeechobee, while Sebring eliminated Avon Park Saturday morning.

The boys in blue came back to knock Okeechobee out of the four-team, double-elimination tournament by a score of 18-8 Saturday afternoon to set up Sunday’s showdown.

Lake Placid needed one win to claim the district title, while Sebring needed two victories.

Results from Sunday’s games were not available at press time. For the latest results, check the Highlands Today Facebook page. For the complete story and photos, be sure to read Tuesday’s Highlands Today sports section.

The Sebring All-Stars jumped on top in the first inning against Okeechobee and never looked back.

“We won this one with our bats,” said Sebring Ozone coach John Bender. “The boys did real well hitting their pitches, not getting ahead of themselves, and putting the ball where they wanted it.”

Sebring took the lead in the top of the first inning as Kamiran Taylor singled to right field, stole second and moved to third base on a single by Trey Bender.

Bender stole second and Blayne Huter singled to right field to score Taylor.

Keyshawn Hicks followed with a double to plate Bender and Huter. Robert Spoone singled and Tyson Bentley scored Hicks to make it 4-0.

Okeechobee answered in the bottom of the first inning. James Ward was on first when Lucas Osceola ripped an RBI double down the right-field line.

Cole Younger hit a looper to center field for a single. With runners on second and third, Darian Deck stepped to the plate and hit a line drive to right field for a two-run single.

Deck was tagged out trying to steal second base for the final out of the inning with the score 4-3.

Sebring went back to work in the top of the second inning.

Cope Brewer scored on a single by Gunner Leonard and Sam Lieske raced home on a base hit by Taylor.

Bender hit a ground ball single to center field to plate Leonard.

Huter hit a sacrifice fly to center field to score Taylor.

Bender reached on a walk, stole second and moved to third base on a single by Hicks.

Hicks attempted to steal second, but the ball was overthrown allowing Bender to score.

Junior Algate singled, Spoone was hit by a pitch to load the bases and a wild pitch allowed Hicks to race home.

Bentley walked to once again load the bases. Kyle Mercer hit a single to center field to score Algate and Spoone.

Mercer doubled and Brewer smacked an RBI single to right field. Taylor, up for the second time in the inning, doubled down the left-field line scoring Mercer and Brewer for a commanding 15-3 lead.

Sebring kept the pressure on in the third inning as Spoone doubled, Bentley walked, both runners moved up on a wild pitch and Mercer roped an RBI single.

Brewer capped the inning with a base hit to score Bentley to make it 17-3.

With bases loaded in the top of the fourth, Spoone hit a line drive to center field bringing home Bender for an RBI increasing Sebring’s lead to 18-3.

Okeechobee rallied in the bottom of the fourth inning.

Braxton Berryman was hit by a pitch, Deck singled and Devon Tedders walked. Bradley Kirk lined a single to right field to score Berryman and Ward laced a two-run single into left field.

Lucas Osceola was hit by the ball to load the bases once again. Chase Story walked to force in Kirk and Berryman scored a run with a hit to make the final score 18-8.

Sebring, which scored 48 runs in its last two games, was looking forward to playing for the district title.

“My plan is to play Lake Placid twice and come away as district champions,” coach Bender said.