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Lake Region Takes Big Early Lead, Holds On To Win

Lake Region built a big early lead but had to fight off a tenacious Lakeland team to win 7-4 on Monday.

After a quick top of the first, Orlando Pena and Lane Fry walked to lead things off for the Thunder (5-1). Pena stole third and scored on Luke Kelley’s groundout to get things going. Fry then came home on Gage Walters’ sacrifice fly.

The score stayed the same until the bottom of the third. Kyle Jouppi led off with a single before Pena dropped a bunt that allowed Jouppi to reach third. He came home on Frye’s sacrifice. Kelley reached on an error that allowed Pena to score before Walters doubled home Kelley to make it 5-0.

Undaunted, the Dreadnaughts (0-5) battled back in the top of the fourth and narrowed the margin to 5-3. Consecutive singles by Chase Daly, Cole Brutcher and Chase Ricketts loaded the bases for Lakeland. Josh Reynolds was hit by a pitch, allowing Daly to score. After a strikeout, Eli Cozza blasted a hit to center to bring home Brutcher and Ricketts, and suddenly Lakeland was right in this game.

Lake Region Manager Bill Bullock said his team expected a fight from Lakeland, but acknowledged his team was prepared to overcome the adversity.

“Lakeland is a well-coached team, and we pitched a couple sophomores,” Bullock said. “We knew Lakeland could come back. Our guys have lots of confidence and are finding ways to win.”

Garrett Connor singled and scored on Pena’s groundout in the bottom of the fourth, but Daly, who led off with a double, scored for the Dreadnaughts in the top of the fifth on Reynolds’ double.

Jarrett Hansell struck out five and walked one in four and one-third innings to earn the win for Lake Region. Walters finished 2-for-2 with a double and two RBIs, and Brady Schofstoll went 2-for-2 with a double and run. Jouppi was 2-for-3 with a run and RBI.

Daly finished 2-for-2 with two runs for Lakeland. Cozza was 2-for-3 with two RBIs, and Ricketts went 2-for-4.

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