Okeechobee rallies past Lake Placid

SEBRING - Lake Placid lost by a score of 9-8 to Okeechobee in the opening game of the Pitching Machine district tournament on Saturday at Max Long Complex. Lake Placid carried an 8-2 lead going into the bottom of the fifth inning before Okeechobee staged a remarkable comeback to win in stunning fashion. "They scored five runs in one inning on errors," said Lake Placid Coach Donald Lusby. "They are 7 and 8 years old I guess, we played well for five innings, but we have to play six." Okeechobee took an early lead in the bottom of the first when their first two batters reached on errors and one would later score for a 1-0 lead.
Lake Placid came out swinging in the second inning as Eli Ming led off with a double into left field. That was followed by a single by Casen Simmons and a bunt single by Jarrett Johnston to load the bases with no outs. Landon Goodwin drove in Ming and Simmons with a single into center field. Lake Placid loaded the bases with no outs on an error on a ground ball hit by Jacob Durbanu. The Okeechobee defense stiffened up as they got the next three outs without allowing another run to score. Lake Placid added two more runs in the top of the third after Parker Griffin led off the inning with a doubled into left field. With one out, Jacob Morgan tripled to the right-field fence to drive in Griffin and scored on the same play on a throwing error to the catcher to make it 4-1. Lake Placid plated a run in the fourth inning and Okeechobee responded in the bottom of the frame with a run as Emery Coleman led off the inning with a bunt single. He scored on a ground ball to the shortstop by Leo Castellanos to make it 5-2. With one out in the top of the fifth inning, Lake Placid put together a string of four hits that resulted in three more runs. Griffin and Donovan Lusby singled to reach base. Jacob Morgan hit his second triple, again into right field, to drive in Griffin and Lusby. Morgan scored a moment later on a single by Tucker Cronin as Lake Placid held a commanding 8-2 lead. Okeechobee started its comeback in the bottom of the fifth as Tucker Hargraves led off with a single and later scored on a one-out double by Tucker Myers. "We were wondering why the bats were asleep and we said we got to wake these bats up," said Okeechobee Coach Johnny Tijerina. "They finally started to hit the ball and scored us some runs. That's just not us to go 1-2-3 and only scoring 2-3 runs a game. We finally woke them up." With two outs and still leading 8-3, Lake Placid had trouble getting the third out as two fielding errors and a single by Colton McPeak led to four more Okeechobee runs as they closed the gap to 8-7. Lake Placid, which pounded out 14 hits in the first five innings, went hitless and scoreless in the sixth inning to set the stage for Okeechobee to complete their comeback. Xavier Hernandez led off the sixth inning with an infield single for Okeechobee. Hernandez would be forced out at second on a fielder's choice to the shortstop hit by Orlando Arana. Arana raced home on a double by Castellano down the third-base line to tie the score at 8. With one out, Joseph Dupree reached on an error by the shortstop which also allowed Castellanos to advance to third. Hargraves ended the game with a sacrifice fly ball into right field. Lake Placid's Tucker Myers made a marvelous basket catch, but the ball was hit deep and Castellanos tagged up on third and scored the winning run for the improbable 9-8 victory. Lake Placid played Sebring in an elimination game on Sunday with the winner having to defeat Okeechobee twice for the district championship. Results were not available from Sunday's games.