FORT MYERS — Sometimes it’s the one that got away that really hurts you.
East Lake High’s baseball team fell 5-2 to Hialeah American in Saturday night’s Class 7A state championship game after a fourth inning that started with a misplayed fly ball in the outfield and ended with four Patriots runs.
“The fourth inning got away from us a little bit,” Eagles coach Dan Genna said.
He added: “It was the one big inning and in high school baseball, 80 percent of the time, the team with the big inning is probably going to win it, especially at this level.”
The Patriots capitalized on the error on a fly ball to right field by scoring four runs, keyed by RBI doubles by Romy Gonzalez and Jake Norman to give American all it would need.
East Lake’s offense rallied late by scoring a pair in the sixth on an Ian Lisle RBI single and a wild pitch, and had a pair reach in the seventh, but the Eagles couldn’t rally all the way back.
Despite the disappointment, Genna joked: “It’s too bad the game didn’t go to extra innings. We were 5-0 in extra innings this year.”
The Eagles were road warriors this season after finishing as the district runner-up, playing as the visitor in seven postseason games.
“We’ve been through so many big battles on the road,” Genna said. “This is our seventh game on the road. Being the visiting team is an uphill battle, too, and they fought and they know they are good enough to win in extra frames. … One more hit and this could have been a different game.”