Drew Mendoza scored on a bases-loaded walk in the seventh inning on Thursday to give Lake Minneola a 9-8 win in the Class 6A-District 6 title game at Lake Minneola High School.
Mendoza's run capped a two-run rally in the seventh inning for the Hawks and earned them a home game in Thursday's regional quarterfinal round.
Aaron Pandorf picked up the win for the Hawks (15-11). The third pitcher used by Lake Minneola coach Mike Smith, Pandorf went one hitless inning and struck out two on eight pitches.
Ryan Halstead, the third pitcher used by Leesburg, was tagged with the loss. Halstead allowed two hits and two runs — one earned — in one inning of work. He walked two and struck out two.
Even though the Yellow Jackets lost Thursday, they will play in the regional quarterfinals. However, Leesburg (10-17) will be forced to play on the road.
Their opponents were not known at presstime, although both games will played at 7 p.m. Thursday.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, Kevin Lora reached on catcher's interference and Mendoza laced a single through the left side of the infield. Jon Hoskinson then doubled down the right field line, scoring Cameron Recny, who was running for Lora.
Brett Coffel was walked intentionally to bring up Tucker Rayburn, who was 2-for-3 in the game. After falling behind 1-and-2, Rayburn eventually worked Halstead for a bases-loaded walk that plated Mendoza with the walk-off win.
Lake Minneola had 13 hits off the Yellow Jackets' pitching triumvirate of Kyle Brana, Brendin Perkins and Halstead. The Hawks also benefitted from six Leesburg errors.
Mendoza and Coffel paced Lake Minneola with three hits. Rayburn and Brandon Hartley had two hits apiece.
Rayburn had three RBIs, while Coffel and Hartley had two apiece.
Mendoza and Hoskinson scored two runs each.
Hoskinson started for Lake Minneola and went 4 1/3 innings, allowing seven hits and seven runs, although only four were earned. Michael Tow and Pandorf combined to pitch 4 2/3 innings of hitless relief.
Brana and Jaden Langley had two hits for Leesburg. Tucker Smith had three RBIs and Luis Montalvo had two RBIs.
Brian Hepburn and Langley scored two runs apiece.