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East Lake Holds Off Sarasota Rally In 8A Regional Quarterfinal

The Sarasota Sailors hosted the East Lake Eagles in a 8A regional quarterfinal showdown Wednesday night in a match up between two teams among the top five in the HSBN Tampa Bay Rankings. The Eagles jumped out to the early five-run lead only to watch the Sailors battle back. However the Eagles added one more run and held on to win 6-5.

Jakob Sessa got things started for East Lake (21-6) with a double to right field to score JJ Yergey for the 1-0 lead. Sessa came around to score the second run of the game on a passed ball called on the Sailors.

Later in the inning, with the bases loaded, Seth Caballes was hit by a pitch, bringing in Christian James. A single from Kyle Shoulta increased the lead to four, scoring Kevin Lambert from third. Andrew Belcik scored the fifth and final run for the Eagles in the first.

The Sailors (20-6) quickly got back into the game in the bottom of the third inning. First, Vaun Brown singled with one out to get things going, and then back-to-back walks issued to Nicholas Winkelmeyer and Nick Derr loaded the bases for Nick Long. Long sent the first pitch he saw over the right field fence for the grand slam, pulling the Sailors to within one, 5-4.

Each team traded a run in the fifth inning. First, a sacrifice fly from James scored Reid Zitzelberg, giving the Eagles the 6-4 lead. Grant Horwitz answer for the Sailors with a solo shot to center field to close the gap, keeping hope alive.

However, James entered the game in relief for the Eagles and shut down the Sailors the rest of the way. James went 2.1 innings, allowing no runs on one hit. He struck out one batter he faced and needed just 21 pitches to secure the victory for the Eagles.

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