LEESBURG -- Any athlete, in any sport, always wants to prove to his or her coach that they know how to get it done.
And after the Centennial baseball team came into town and defeated the Lee County Trojans on Monday, 10-6 in 10 innings, Knights head coach and Leesburg native Jake Hill might have just shown his old coach Rob Williams that Williams taught him well. Maybe a little too well.
"It's always exciting to come home and play again," said Hill, who played under Williams at Lee County from 1994-97 before coaching alongside him from 2000-03 before taking over Class AAAAA Centennial. "You always like coming back home -- and it gives the players a chance to play somebody that don't play usually."
Patrick Sammons had himself a game for Centennial and finished 3-for-6, with four RBI, and a run scored, while Cole Goodwin (1-for-5) and Pedro Cruz (1-for-6) each drove in two runs for Lee County.
Centennial scored its 10 runs on 14 hits, compared to Lee County, which used 16 hits to generate its six runs. Both teams also had its share of mistakes and combined for nine errors in this game.
It was the Knights who got on the scoreboard first in the top of the second after Eric Verdi reached home on a ground out by Daniel Karseboom, but the Trojans pulled even in the bottom of the second when Goodwin drove in Luke Roland with two outs.
The Knights would answer with two runs in the top of the third with two outs after the Trojans' Andrew Stroud and Tanner Stone ran into each other while in pursuit of a fly ball to center field, allowing Sean Muller and Jay Baum to score.
The Trojans trailed, 3-1, going into the bottom of the fourth before tallying four runs to capture a 5-3 lead.
Entering the top of the seventh inning, the Trojans were nursing a 6-4 lead but Centennial took little time to tie the game at 6-6 with only one out and runners on first and second, only to watch Lee County quickly get out of the jam to force extras.
The game would remain tied until the top of the 10th inning when the Knights seemed to just take the game by the collar and exploded for four runs -- something the Trojans were unable to bounce back from.
"It was a lot of fun," said Williams, whose team fell to 7-8 "But we didn't get hits in the clutch -- and we needed them"
Centennial's Dustin Beggs was the winning pitcher in this game after coming on in the fifth inning and striking out three Trojans. Jake Howell, who came in to start the seventh inning, shouldered the loss after giving up four runs in a little over two innings of work.
The Trojans will have a chance to even the score with Centennial, which is out of Roswell, today when they face each other again for the series finale at 6 p.m.