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McKeel Outlasts Hardee In High-Scoring Wildcat Duel

The McKeel Academy Wildcats scored six runs in the fifth inning and held off a late Hardee Wildcats’ rally on the way to an 11-7 win Tuesday in a 5A-10 showdown. McKeel was led by two standout performances at the plate. Cody Woodring went 3-for-5 with four RBIs and a run scored while Josh Jano went 3-for-4 with two RBIs, three runs, two stolen bases and a walk.

There was plenty of offense in the back-and-forth game. McKeel Academy (3-1) racked up 12 hits while Hardee finished with six, and the lead changed hands several times. McKeel took a 2-0 edge in the top of the third before Hardee (0-2) grabbed the lead in the bottom of the inning. McKeel then exploded for six runs in the top of the fifth.

With one out and two on, Woodring doubled to center to plate two runners and put McKeel ahead 4-3. Two batters later, Dylan LeFebvre singled to right to bring home Woodring. Bryce Barter followed up with a double to center, scoring Blaine Wellslager. Two batters later, McKeel went ahead 8-3 after Travon Whitehurst doubled to right, scoring Chase McCawley, who subbed in as a courtesy runner for LeFebvre.

Down 11-4 in the bottom of the seventh Hardee tried to piece together a late rally.

With the bases loaded and one out, Matt Tyson singled to shortstop scoring Brandon Franks. With the bases still jammed, Keith Choate was hit by a pitch, scoring Hayden Lindsey. Kyle Choate drew a bases loaded walk, scoring Isaac Moreno and closing the lead to 11-7 before McKeel pitcher Bryce Barter forced a line out to left and a ground out to third to end the threat and seal the win.

LeFebvre earned the win for McKeel. In four innings pitched, he allowed four runs, two hits and struck out three.

Hardee’s Drew McGucken took the loss. He pitched four and a third innings, allowing eight runs, eight hits with five strikeouts. Lindsey finished 2-for-3 with an RBI, run scored and a walk. Brandon Franks finished 1-for-2 with three runs scored and a walk.

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