Chris Phethean hit a two-run single with two outs in the sixth inning, leading the Seminole Presbyterian Lancers to a 9-8 victory over Lakeland McKeel Academy in the Class A, District 9 championship game at Henley Field in Lakeland.
It was the first district baseball title for Seminole Presbyterian (15-7), which will host Keswick Christian in Tuesday's South I region quarterfinals. McKeel travels to Shorecrest, the A-10 champion.
"I think I got some gray hairs from this one, but it was definitely an exciting game to win," Lancers coach Kevin Hickinbotham said.
Phethean, a seventh-grade catcher who is hitting .392, smacked a two-strike pitch into right field, driving in Chase Angell and Baker Mabry. The Lancers, who took a 6-0 first-inning lead but surrendered eight in McKeel's third, hung on in the seventh.
"This has really been a landmark year for our boys athletic program," said Hickinbotham, pointing out that the fall soccer team finished sixth in the state and the basketball team also won its first district title. "This is another positive sign and we'd like to take it even further."
_ JOEY JOHNSTON