Commentary | Manatee Cal Ripken team advances

July 10, 2012 

The Manatee Cal Ripken 8-and-younger All-Star team advanced to the Southeast Regional Tournament, which begins Thursday in Andalusia, Ala.

Based out of Heritage Harbour, the team earned its way to the regional tourney after winning the Rookie "A" White Bracket portion of the 2012 State Tournament in Palm Beach Gardens that was conducted the last weekend in June.

After a 16-0 demolition of Key West in its opener, Manatee lost in the second round 18-13 to Longwood and was forced to navigate its way through the loser's bracket in the double elimination tournament.

Manatee did just that with four straight victories, including a 9-8 payback win against Longwood in the loser's bracket final.

The club downed undefeated Julington Creek 1-0 to force a winner-take-all game, which Manatee captured over the same team 11-2.

Manatee joined Fishawk, Sarasota and Okeeheelee as 8-and-younger division champs that qualified for the regional tourney.

They are the first Cal Ripken baseball team to advance to the Southeast Regional since Manatee West accomplished the

feat in 2010, when it qualified for the 11-and-younger Majors (60-feet) division in McKenzie, Tenn.

Tournaments begin

Buffalo Creek Little League's 9-10 year old softball team is heading to the Section IV tournament in Land O'Lakes after winning the District 26 tourney on July 1 over North River American.

Buffalo Creek swept NRA in the best-of-five championship series by outscoring their county foe 52-7 in 12 innings.

Each game was halted after four innings due to the 10-run rule.

As the District 26 representative, Buffalo Creek doesn't begin play until Friday in the Section IV tourney, which gets under way on Thursday.

Lakewood Ranch Little League's 10-11 baseball squad and Buffalo Creek's 9-10 Blue team, which captured the district championships on Saturday, starts the Section IV tourney on Saturday.

Section winners progress to the state tournament.

Triathlon triumphs

Bradenton's Abigal Hite won the female division of the 8th Annual "Tri if you Dare" Kids Triathlon in Seminole recently.

The 6-year-old Hite clocked in at 13:19 to place sixth overall.

There were 40 finishers in the race of varying length depending on age. Hite had to run a1/4 mile, bike 1 mile and swim 25 yards.

The event also featured two other Manatee County youngsters complete the course. Bradenton's Sam Heintz placed second in the male 6 year old division, and third overall, with a time of 12:18.

And Reese Franqueiro, of Parrish, snagged sixth in the female 6-year-old group with a time of 14:32.

Jason Dill, sports reporter, can be reached at 745-7017 or via email at Follow him on Twitter @Jason__Dill or on Facebook under Jason Dill Bradenton Herald.

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