It took more than 24 hours to finish, but the wait was well worth it for the Lakeland baseball team.
The Lakers beat NECC rival West Noble, 7-3 Thursday night to conclude the first round of the 3A sectional at Jimtown. The contest began Wednesday night but was halted in the second inning due to rain with Lakeland holding a 1-0 lead.
Still clinging to that one-run margin as the game entered the third inning, the Lakers exploded for five big runs to blow the game open. The big blow of the rally was a three-run homer off the bat of Carson Mickem. Mark Wells plated two teammates in the stanza.
Caedan Caballero slapped multiple hits for the victors.
Mickem earned the pitching win with scoreless relief help from Caballero and Jayden Marshall.
Lakeland (8-18) advances to play defending sectional champion Wawasee in the first semifinal tilt Saturday at 12 noon. The Warriors bested Tippecanoe Valley, 5-2 in the first round Wednesday.
NorthWood and the host Jimmies will clash in the second semifinal Saturday. The winners of Saturday’s battles return to Baugo Township Monday at 12 noon to play for the sectional crown and a spot in the 3A regional scheduled to take place June 4 at Oak Hill.