BRADENTON -- If there was a Most Valuable Player award handed out for the 11-12 year old division of the District 26 Little League All-Star tournament, Dylan Buck would certainly be a frontrunner.
The right-hander delivered the goods for Lakewood Ranch Little League on Friday at G.T. Bray park.
Buck stymied Buffalo Creek's potent offense by allowing two hits over 4 1/3 innings on the mound.
He also reached base safely three times in four plate appearances as Ranch earned the district title with a 10-2 victory in a game that was pushed to a 9 p.m. start at Bray due to inclement weather making Buffalo Creek Park unplayable.
The red-hot Buck, who was a perfect 7-for-7 over the last two games, grounded out in his first at-bat to end his consecutive hit streak.
However, he delivered an RBI-single in his next trip to the dish that armed Lakewood Ranch with a 3-0 lead.
Buffalo Creek clawed its way back to a one-run deficit in the third inning after Buck threw a wild pitch. Dillon Sullivan, who walked and advanced to second on a wild pitch, ran toward third base, but teammate Liam O'Connell wasn't breaking for the plate.
Ranch catcher Christian Lowe ran toward Sullivan and tossed to shortstop Conner Knapp, who fired to Buck covering the plate as O'Connell darted home.
The ball got away from Buck, allowing both Buffalo Creek baserunners to score.
It was the closest Buffalo Creek would get.
Ranch added three insurance runs in the fourth inning with Parker Shanahan (2-for-4) and Ollie Kightlinger notching RBI hits.
Kightlinger, who had a key RBI-double in Wednesday's winners bracket final over Buffalo Creek, made
a strong push for consideration as an everyday player on Friday.
He plated two runs with a two-out single to the gap in left-center field in the first inning as Ranch took advantage of a new rule to Little League this season where the ball is live on a dropped third strike earlier in the frame with Knapp.
Kightlinger later added a run-scoring double as he joined Knapp and Buck with extra-base hits.
Buck capped his explosive night with a colossal grand slam home run in the fifth inning.
He ended his pitching night with nine strikeouts out of the 13 outs he recorded.
Buck was pulled due to the Little League rule that allows pitchers a maximum of 85 pitches in a game.
Buffalo Creek's Camden Schmitt ended his club's hitless streak against Lakewood Ranch hurlers when he smacked a single up the middle in the first inning off Buck.
He went 2-for-3 to lead his club's offense.
Ranch advances to the Section IV tournament in Land O'Lakes next wee