High school baseball: Fort White, Dixie County both heading to state Final Four
The Class 1A region finals finished up on Friday night as four Gainesville-area squads paired up in two games to cut the remaining local field in half.
From Mayo, the fourth-seeded Fort White Indians punched their ticket to the Final Four after edging out the third-seeded Lafayette Hornets 3-2 in Region 3-Class 1A final.
Meanwhile, 40 miles south of Lafayette High School, the third-seeded Dixie County Bears made history as they captured the program's first regional title with a lopsided, 9-1 win over the Chiefland Indians in the Region 4-Class 1A championship.
Here's a quick look at how each game shook out.
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Region 3-Class 1A
No. 4 Fort White (16-6) def. No. 3 Lafayette (17-4) 3-2
Fort White came from behind to eliminate Lafayette from the playoffs after the Indians trailed the Hornets all the way up to the sixth inning.
Lafayette scratched across a run in both the second and third inning thanks to a sacrifice fly off the bat of junior Austin Herron in the second and a groundout from senior Max Byrd, which allowed junior Dawson Mock to score from third.
Fort White would get a run back in the top of the fourth as sophomore Dylan Lovelace delivered a sacrifice fly that allowed junior Tucker Hardee to score from third.
The score remained 2-1 in the Hornets favor up until the top of the sixth inning, when Hardee sent a solo home run over the right field wall to tie it up, followed by a Lafayette error that allowed senior Clayton Fleming to come across as the game-winning run.
Fort White senior Jonathan Fischer went on to keep the Lafayette from threatening as he saw just seven batters in the final two innings. Fischer finished having gone the distance and giving up six hits, one earned run and striking out four.
The narrow win sends Fort White to the Class 1A Final Four in Fort Myers, where it was reseeded as the third seed and will take on No. 2 Holmes County (22-7) on Wednesday at 7 p.m. from Hammond Stadium.
Region 4-Class 1A
No. 3 Dixie County (13-9) def. No. 4 Chiefland (11-12) 9-1
Unlike the game in Mayo, Dixie County didn't want or need the drama of a come-from-behind win to top the Chiefland Indians on Friday night.
Instead, the Bears jumped out on the Indians early with a four-run second inning, followed by a three-run third inning — all while keeping Chiefland scoreless until the final frame.
Dixie County passed the bat around in the second inning as sophomore Kade McCaskill led off with a single was immediately scored thanks to a double from senior Connor Bechtold. Sophomore Luke NesSmith would single and senior Kolton Hunt deliver a two-RBI double to keep the runs coming.
In the Bears' next at-bat, the Indians would commit two costly errors while McCaskill and freshman Jordan Mario would notch hits to help Dixie County build to its lead.
With a 7-0 lead, Dixie County would add a run in the fourth and sixth inning as insurance that the Bears didn't really need, especially with senior Carson St. Laurent on the mound.
St. Laurent pitched for 6.2 innings in a performance that saw him give up five hits, one run, two walks and strikeout six.
With the win, Dixie County was reseeded as the fourth seed of the Final Four and will battle No. 1 Bozeman (24-4) on Wednesday at 4 p.m. from Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers.
This article originally appeared on The Gainesville Sun: High school baseball: Fort White, Dixie County going to state semifinals