ST. PETERSBURG — Oliver Hahn legged out a two-out infield single that scored David Martinez in the bottom of the ninth inning to lift Lakewood to a 4-3 win against Lemon Bay in their Class 5A region quarterfinal at Lake Vista Sports Complex on Wednesday.
The Spartans (16-11) will host Sarasota Booker on Saturday. Lakewood has played Booker three times this season, including last week when the Spartans won 11-2 in the district championship game.
Martinez got on base with a one-out single in the bottom of the ninth, and Dontae Mitchell walked with two outs to put runners on first and second. The runners advanced on a wild pitch and Hahn hit a slow grounder to short and beat the throw.
“That was a real grind-out win,” Spartans coach Jayce Ganchou said. “And it’s really the first one we’ve had like that this year. We’ve either won big or were not there at all mentally, but tonight we had to fight and get it done.”
It was a back-and-forth game from the start. Lemon Bay (8-17) tied the score at 1 in the top of the third inning when Flynn Stewart scored on a wild pitch after reaching base on a fielder’s choice.
The Spartans took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the inning after Jeremy Texel reached on a walk, stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Hahn followed with a sacrifice fly to score Texel.
Lemon Bay rallied in the fourth as Richie Oliver singled and eventually scored on a wild pitch, and Sebastian Daubner reached on a walk and eventually scored on a passed ball to make it 3-2.
Lakewood tied it at 3 in the bottom of the fourth when Scott Germak singled and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by Anthony Hudson.
Germak, who started the game, had to fight out of jams to keep it close but settled down to retire the side in the fifth inning before passing the ball to Malaki Roberts, who threw three scoreless innings of relief.
“That’s the way we’ve been doing it all season,” Ganchou said. “Scott probably didn’t have his best stuff today, but he got under control and Malaki came in and shut it down like he has for us all year.”
Lakewood had multiple runners on base in the sixth and seventh innings but could not get the winning run across until the ninth.
“We’re not done this year, that’s what I told them,” Ganchou said. “We’ve still got more in the tank. Today we showed we could go longer if we need to, but I still feel like our best baseball is front of us.”