Carrollwood Day usually had to overcome one bad inning in every game - including victories - this season, according to coach Chuck Fest.
Unfortunately, two subpar innings proved to be too much for the fledgling Patriots.
Carrollwood Day rallied to tie Lakeland Christian in the fifth inning and send Wednesday's Class 3A region quarterfinal to extra innings. The Vikings, though, scored three unanswered runs in the ninth to advance to the next round, winning 7-4 at Fest Field.
"We came out and fought hard," Fest said. "They were just one play better than us."
The Patriots (10-6) trailed 4-2 in the fifth inning but evened the score when Amanda Rose hit a two-out triple to the warning track in right-centerfield that plated two runners.
"I think we've got the biggest porch out of anybody," said Fest, referring to the 225-foot wall in straightaway centerfield. "If we were a 200-foot fence all the way around and it leaves the yard, then we're going home. ...It was a shot, but those are the breaks of the game."
Rose, who pitched all nine innings, kept Lakeland Christian (19-5) off the scoreboard from the third on until the ninth inning, when a handful of errors doomed the Patriots.
The Vikings' Brooke Wilsman reached second base on an error to start the inning and slid into third successfully courtesy of Emily Murphy's sacrifice bunt. The throw from third base to second to gun down an aggressive Murphy went into the outfield, allowing Wilsman to come home with the winning run.
Lakeland Christian scored four runs in the third inning to take control of the game.
"(The third inning) could have been a lot worse," Fest said. "We've had a lot worse."
Carrollwood Day scored a run in the first inning when Emma Frost led off with a triple and came home on a single by Savannah Bennett. Frost scored again in the third on a wild pitch to cut it to 4-2.
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5A: Rough loss ends Lennard's season
On the heels of its first district title in school history, Lennard followed with what coach Jamie McCulley called "one of the worst games we've ever played."
The Longhorns were knocked out of the playoffs in a 16-2 five-inning loss to Bayshore in their Class 5A region quarterfinal.
Lennard struggled from the mound, couldn't keep up at the plate and committed four errors.
"We just kept burying ourselves down deep in the beginning," McCulley said. "It wasn't a pretty game."
The loss ends a historic season for the Longhorns, who went 6-2 in District 5A-11 then claimed the district tournament title last week.
MORE 5A: Blake handled Dunedin in a 6-0 victory.
The Falcons struck out 10 times and their defense was unusually sloppy, committing costly errors that led to runs.
"You can't strike out that many times and expect to win," Falcons coach Roy Silver said. "It's a bitter pill for the girls to take, especially because we had played so well leading up to this game."
Staff writers Joel Anderson and Bob Putnam contributed to this report.