ENGLEWOOD — After waiting through three lightning delays over three days, Lake Placid scored twice in the top of the eighth inning and defeated Lemon Bay, 5-3, in the Class 5A-District 12 Championship game Saturday morning.
The Green Dragons shook off the effects of three long bus rides over three days to end the Manta Rays streak of three straight district championships.
The game picked up where it left off Friday night in the top of the eighth inning tied at 3-3 with one out and a runner on first base. New Lemon Bay pitcher Tyler Intihar got Jackson Griffin on a groundout to second baseman Flynn Stewart as Isiah Patterson advanced to second base. Patterson went to third on a passed ball and then Intihar hit Shamar Mitchell with a pitch to put runners at the corners with two outs. Mitchell moved up to second on a wild pitch and both runners came home as Rip Ward lined a single to left.
The Mantas got out of the inning without any further damage, but Lake Placid reliever Briar Napier set down Lemon Bay in order in the bottom of the eighth and the Dragons were district champions.
The Mantas had missed several opportunities on Friday night, including having a runner thrown out at the plate in the first inning and leaving the bases loaded in the fifth.
“We left some runners on base and left some stuff out there for sure last night,” Lemon Bay coach Dan Flaherty said. “I told the guys the number that sticks out to me is not 5-3, it was 10-2. Ten hits to two hits, that’s the story of the game, just not getting that clutch hit. We got runners on base, but needed a big hit and just weren’t able to find it.”
The Mantas had defeated Lake Placid twice during the regular season by scores of 6-0 and 5-2, but this time was a different story.
“I think they just came to play. Hat’s off to them,” Flaherty said. “When we had played earlier in the year I think it was kind of the same situation where we had gotten some walks and some runners on base without the hits and were just able to put pressure on. We tried doing that again here, but they just swung the bats pretty well.”
As district runners-up, the Mantas will take to the road this Wednesday for the first round of regional play against a still to be determined opponent.
“We’re road warriors now. We can keep the season alive and we’ll keep working. I know the boys are a little bit disappointed in the result today but we get to keep playing. That’s a good thing,” Flaherty said.
LAKE PLACID 5, LEMON BAY 3 (8 INNINGS.)
Lake Placid 000 030 02 — 5 10 2
Lemon Bay 000 120 00 — 3 2 0
WP — Cody Jolley LP — Jason LePage. Leading hitters: Rip Ward (LP) 2-4, run, 2 RBIs; Briar Napier (LP) 2-5, run, RBI; Isiah Patterson (LP) 2-4, run; Josh Gossett (LB) 1-2.