Hurricanes stun Rattlers with late rally

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Posted April 14, 2023 | By Mark Pinson
Special To The Ocala Gazette
Photos By Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette
CANDLER – Down but not out. That describes the Lake Weir baseball team as they trailed Belleview by a score of 4-0 heading to the bottom of the seventh inning of Friday night’s game.
After losing to Dunnellon in walk-off fashion on Tuesday night, Lake Weir staged a last-inning rally of its own by taking advantage of three walks, two hits and a wild pitch that scored Chance Wilkins with the winning run that gave the Hurricanes a thrilling 5-4 win over the Rattlers.
The comeback victory improved Lake Weir to 8-11 on the season.
“I thought it was a great job by all the guys,” said Hurricanes coach Colby Wisdom. “The blood pressure was high waiting until the end, but I’m glad that they finally pulled it out.”
The disappointing defeat, the second consecutive walk-off loss this week for Belleview, dropped the Rattlers to 7-13 overall.
“We’ve struggled all year learning how to win,” said Belleview coach Jared Moseley. “When things go bad we have to learn to turn the page, overcome adversity and focus on the task at hand. It’s been an up and down season and we’re still trying to figure things out.”
Both offenses were stifled by excellent pitching the first four innings as Belleview senior right-hander Aaron Skinner and Lake Weir sophomore Lyric Hartley were in complete command in the scoreless contest.
Belleview got on the scoreboard in the top of the fifth inning as Cooper Wilson singled, Aaron Martin worked a walk and Aaron Loebig roped a double down the left-field line to score Wilson with Martin moving to third base. Hartley uncorked a wild pitch allowing Martin to score to give the Rattlers’ a 2-0 lead.
Lake Weir brought in sophomore Chris Adleburg in relief of Hartley and the right-hander escaped further trouble in the inning.
Belleview, which had six hits, added a pair of runs in the top of the sixth inning as Sam Plano singled, Juan Mojica walked and Wilson smacked a two-run double to right-center field to give the Clas 5A Rattlers a 4-0 lead.
Skinner, who allowed two hits and struck out six, breezed through the Lake Weir lineup in the bottom of the frame.
The Class 4A Hurricanes brought in left-hander Conner Houghteling to pitch the top of the seventh inning and the senior retired all three batters he faced.
Lake Weir, which managed four hits in the game, took advantage of wildness by Belleview reliever Ethan Gifford in the bottom of the frame, as Adelburg, Dominic Toste and Angel Padilla walked and sophomore pinch-hitter Riley Erickson came through with a booming two-run double to left-center field.
Belleview brought Plano on in relief of Gifford. Wilkins greeted him with a sharp single to left field to score two runs to tie the game. Wilson advanced to second base on the throw and moved to third base on a ground out.
Plano uncorked a wild pitch and Wilkins raced home with the winning run for the 5-4 win. Houghteling picked up the win with his scoreless inning of relief.
“Riley Erickson was called up from junior varsity this week and came through with a big hit,” coach Wisdom said. “That’s the second time this week we scored quite a few runs in the seventh inning and that’s always good to see.”
Lake Weir is back on the diamond on Tuesday night with a home game against West Port, while Belleview has an away game against St. John Lutheran on Tuesday night.
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