LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Rich Labriola may have been disappointed with the outcome.
But he wasn't all disappointed in his players.
Labriola is the manager for the Lakewood Ranch's 11-12 All-Stars, who opened the sectional tournament Friday with a 4-3 loss to Lutz.
The big blow came off the bat of Michael Bean, Lutz's starting pitcher whose sixth-inning walk-off home run to right made him the hero.
Lakewood Ranch, however, made Lutz work for it, rallying from a 3-0 hole before losing on Bean's blast.
"The kids played with a lot of heart," Labriola said. "I'm proud of them."
Lutz took a 3-0 lead in the second on the strength of two Lakewood Ranch errors and a wild pitch. But that was all Lutz got off Ranch starting pitcher Pablo Garabitos, who struck out eight in five innings.
Garabitos flew in from the Dominican Republic on Thursday to pitch.
"He pitched a great game," Labriola said.
He chipped in with the bat, too, stroking a pair of doubles, including one in the fourth that triggered a two-run rally.
Charlie George plated Garabitos with a double of his own and later scored on a wild pitch, trimming Lutz's lead to 3-2.
Lakewood Ranch drew even on Austin Kessler's home run in the fifth.
"I'm really happy for Austin," Labriola said. "This was his first All-Star game."
Lakewood Ranch looks to battle back today when it plays Plant City, which defeated North Brandon on Friday, at 10 a.m.
Ranch then plays North Brandon at 12:30 p.m.
"I'm proud of all the kids," Labriola said. "We've got two more (today) against
two good teams."
Braden River scored a dramatic win during the first game of sectional play, defeating Haines City 8-7 thanks to a rally in the bottom of the seventh.
After squandering a 6-5 lead in the top of the seventh, Braden River loaded the bases in the bottom half on three walks before Ryan Pondillo and Gavin Root scored on a Haines City throwing error.
Ean Eichelbaum tripled in three runs and Root added a double for Braden River, which faces Belmont Heights today at 9 a.m. and New Tampa at 4:30.
New Tampa defeated Belmont Heights 5-4.
10-11: Buffalo Creek got off to a fine start at the state tournament in Melbourne by beating Palm Harbor 8-1.
Eric Rindermann pitched a complete game with nine strikeouts, and Anthony Westbrook had three hits.
Rindermann and Taylor Steier had multi-hit games for Buffalo Creek, which faces North Springs today at 11:30 a.m. and Niceville at 4:30 p.m.