WINTER GARDEN — The Leesburg Lightning came out on the winning side of see-saw battle with the Winter Garden Squeeze Friday night with an 8-7 win in nine innings at West Orange High School.
With the win, Leesburg improved to 12-6, while Winter Garden fell to 7-9.
Noah Best drove in the winning run in the top of the ninth with a groundout to second base that scored Austin Brinling from third. Best finished the day 1-for-5 with three of the biggest RBIs of the game coming in the final two innings.
Eustis grad Ty Van Dyke gets first start
The game was considered an extra-inning affair because was originally scheduled for seven innings followed a lengthy rain delay that delayed the start for nearly 90 minutes.
Eustis grad Ty Van Dyke got his first start of the season for the Lightning and turned in a dominant effort. The Seminole State College sophomore hurled four scoreless innings, allowing two hits and striking out nine.
He would receive a no-decision as the Squeeze tied the ballgame in the fifth.
In the eighth inning of a 1-1 game, both teams had three hits and double-digit strikeouts. Because the eighth was considered an extra inning, a baserunner was put on second to start the frame, similar to the extra-innings format used in Major League Baseball.
Best failed to get down two bunt attempts to open the eighth and took matters into his own hands with a two-run homer to deep left field, giving Leesburg the 3-1 lead.
The Bolts were not done, as two more runs would score in the inning on a pair of wild pitches and a dropped fly-ball in left field that plated catcher Travis Stapleton for a 6-1 advantage.
Right-handed closer Connor Gleeson entered in the bottom of the eighth and surrendered his first runs of the year. After two scored on a passed ball and fielder's choice, Winter Garden trailed by three and was down to its final strike with two runners on base.
Then, Squeeze outfielder Noah Dickerson deposited a clutch three-run blast to right center field to tie the ballgame at 6-6, forcing another extra inning.
The Lightning cashed in with two runs in the top of the ninth via another wild pitch scoring outfielder Michael Furry and the RBI groundout from Best. Leesburg led 8-6 and Gleeson came back out for the bottom of the ninth.
Another base hit from Winter Garden scored a run to start the inning that drew the Squeeze within one. Gleeson struck out the next batter and induced a game-ending double play from the Leesburg infield would seal the win.
Gleeson earned his first victory of the season.
Tom Cavanaugh is the communications intern for the Leesburg Lightning.
This article originally appeared on Daily Commercial: Summer league baseball: Leesburg Lightning get best of Winter Garden