SEBRING — The Sebring All-Stars had their first taste of hardship when they played against Spring Hill in the winner’s bracket of the Dixie Boys State Tournament (age 14) at Max Long Complex on Monday.
In a back and forth affair, Sebring came out on top by a score of 16-6 to remain the only undefeated team in the 11-team, double-elimination tournament.
“The kids finally met some adversity,” said Sebring Boys coach Cesar Martinez. “They didn’t let it get to them. We started off kind of hot, got the lead, and Spring Hill came right back hitting a grand slam. That is the first adversity we met and by fighting through that adversity that’s what won us this game because they stayed positive and kept chipping away. Got a hit here, run there, settled down the pitching and defense. Both teams were slapping each other in the chest.”
Sebring moved on to play once-beaten West Volusia on Tuesday night.
Results from the game were not available at press time. For the complete story and photos, be sure to read Thursday’s Highlands Today sports section.
Spring Hill went on the attack in the first inning as Max Glenn lined a single to left field, Dalton Mosser was hit by a pitch and John Olivera doubled in a run for a 1-0 lead.
Sebring answered in the bottom of the frame as Hunter Martinez singled, Clint Patrick was hit by a pitch and Justin Bickman singled.
Dayvon Terry flew out to right field and Martinez tagged up at third and scored. Patrick advanced to third on the play and scored on a wild pitch.
Josh Rivera was hit by a pitch, Damian Lusby stroked a two-run double to left-center field and Dalton Whitman grounded to shortstop and a wild throw allowed Lusby to score for a 5-1 lead.
Spring Hill answered as Nick Vastano singled and Domenick Rado and Mike Ebberup walked.
A wild pitch scored one run, and Mosser drilled a grand slam over the left-center field fence putting Spring Hill up 6-5.
Sebring reclaimed the lead in the bottom of the second. Patrick walked and Bickman hit a home run over the center-field fence.
Spring Hill brought in Max Glenn in relief and he promptly hit Gabe Gomez, who advanced to second base on a fielder’s choice. Rivera hit a looper to right field for a double driving home Gomez. Rivera took third on a wild pitch and scored on a Whitman base hit for a 9-6 lead.
Sebring scored a run in the fourth and two more in the fifth to take a commanding 12-6 lead.
In the bottom of the sixth, Sebring loaded the bases and Gomez stepped to the plate and belted a grand slam homer to make it 16-6 which brought the game to an end because of the 10-run mercy rule.
“Their pitcher hit one of our batters and threw at my head,” said Gabe Gomez. “He made me mad so I had to send it out.”