Seminole found itself in unfamiliar territory Friday.
After cruising through districts and sectionals, the team trailed for the first time this postseason in its opener of the Little League major baseball state tournament.
"Not once," coach Ira Berman said. "But twice."
But Seminole managed to overcome both and hold off a late rally to defeat Winter Park 7-6 at Tallahassee's Canopy Oaks Community Park. Seminole plays Eustis today at 1 p.m. in the second of three pool games.
Down 1-0 in the third, Scott Withrow tied it with an RBI double and Mike Mann (2-for-3) followed with a run-scoring single. Corey Baptist's RBI groundout stretched Seminole's lead to 3-1.
Winter Park responded with three runs in the fifth to retake the lead before Seminole scored four more in the bottom of the inning. A homer from Withrow tied it and Adam Atkinson drove in a pair with a double. Brett Phillips then made it 7-4 with an RBI single.
Mann, who struck out six and gave up eight hits, was relieved by Atkinson after one batter in the sixth when he reached his pitch limit. Atkinson gave up a pair of unearned runs before fanning the last batter with the tying run on base.
"We made some baserunning mistakes and some silly errors," Berman said. "But these guys didn't roll over and a win is a win at this time of the year."
SENIOR BASEBALL: The Seminole seniors didn't fare as well in their state tournament, losing the opener 11-3 to Conway in Winter Garden. Seminole plays a doubleheader against Niceville (11 a.m.) and San Mateo (3 p.m.) today to wrap up pool play. The top two teams from each four-team pool advance to the semifinals Sunday.
Mike Carlin, Shaun Starnes, Mike Martello and Joe Lamoureux each doubled for Seminole. Ryan Kirk had an outstanding defensive game at third base.
Contact Brandon Wright at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 892-2216.
Major Baseball State Tournament
Today: Seminole vs. Eustis, 1 p.m.
at Winter Garden
Today: Seminole vs. Niceville, 11 a.m.; Seminole vs. San Mateo, 3 p.m.