By Meaghan O’Neal
The Laker/Lutz News Correspondent
Land O’ Lakes Little League entered the finals of the Section 4 tournament needing just one more win to earn a spot in states.
It didn’t happen for the Central Pasco County 11- and 12-year-olds.
Land O’ Lakes was matched against Plant City in the tournament finals on July 22 at the Land O’ Lakes Recreation Complex. Both squads were 2-2 entering the contest, but the home team ended up on the losing side of an 18-9 score.
The first five innings of the championship game looked bleak for Land O’ Lakes, falling behind 9-2.
With one mighty swing, Colton Bierly brought the home team back from the brink with a three-run homer to close the score to 9-5.
Bierly’s teammates rushed onto the field to congratulate him. He said “it felt good” to bring the team back in the game.
Land O’ Lakes pushed across four more runs before the game would end, but it wasn’t enough to win.
Manager Mike Peeples, a former MLB player, said he is still proud of the job the boys did despite coming up short of states.
“They did great,” Peeples said. “We’ve worked hard the past couple weeks and some of them have made big strides. We were short by one game and that hurts, but they did very well and I’m proud of that.
“(It took) the whole team; all 13 of them played well all season,” Peeples continued. “You saw signs of it late in the game. They kept fighting. To get this far it took all 13 kids just being teammates and playing the game together.”