Things looked awfully bleak for Land O’ Lakes for an awfully long time at Legends Way ballfields Thursday afternoon.
The Gators were perilously close to losing in the Class 5A state semifinals. They trailed by four runs in the sixth inning and were down by three in the bottom of the seventh. .
But any fans who sneaked away to the concession stands missed resilient Land O’ Lakes transforming awful into awesome.
The Gators did not hammer their way back with big blasts.
This comeback required patience.
Land O’ Lakes hitters capitalized on Pace’s errant pitching — and fielding. The Gators worked counts. They drew walks. And flew around the bases.
More importantly, they scored.
Kiersten Stevens third walk of the game came with the bases loaded, bringing in one run. Another scored on a wild pitch to make it a one-run game.
That set the stage for Emma Nixon, who completed the comeback with a two-run single in Land O’ Lakes 5-4 victory. That hit was just the third for the Gators in the semifinal.
Nixon finished with three RBIs.
Land O’ Lakes moves on to play in the final for the third time in the past six years and will try to win its second title in school history. The Gators face the Palm Bay-Fort Myers winner in Friday’s championship game at 7.