EAST MANATEE -- A lightning delay of nearly two hours couldn't stop Braden River Little League's powerful pitching.
The league's intermediate division outfit, made up of 11- and 12-year-olds playing on a regulation Little League field with base paths stretched to 70 feet and the pitcher's mound pushed back to 50 feet, scored in bunches and backed it up with a dazzling combination effort from the hill in Monday's opening day of the District 26 All-Star Tournament at Braden River.
Braden River earned a 10-1 victory over Manatee National to advance to Wednesday's winner's bracket final against Manatee West, which received a bye in the three-team bracket.
"Especially at their home park, they had to win the first game," Braden River manager Chris Kastor said. "If you don't win the first game, then that means you have to come back and win two straight."
National (0-1) received its lone bright spot from Hunter Pinkston, who delivered a solo home run to provide the lone hit for his club. It'll await the loser of Wednesday's tilt between Braden River (1-0) and West.
Braden River's dominance came from stout pitching that witnessed three hurlers combine for 13 strikeouts.
Starting pitcher Andre Nunez provided eight of those strikeouts in his four innings of work.
"They all three did great," Kastor said.
Leading the hitting for Braden River were Dalton Buckner (3-for-4, RBI), Daniel Tart (2-for-4), Devin Guzman (2-for-3, double) and Kieren Collins (double).
There were three other games played Monday. Two came in the 9-10 year old division. Buffalo Creek bested Manatee West 10-0 in a four-inning game behind Trace Goforth's one-hit shutout.
Goforth is a member of Palmetto Little League, but that league merged some players into Buffalo Creek's team as there weren't enough players to form a Palmetto LL side this season.
Goforth also had a double, RBI and two runs scored at the plate. Other leading hitters included Mason Janz (double, run, two RBIs), Dylan Nealey (3-for-3, RBI, three runs) and Trace Bench (double, RBI, run).
Meanwhile, Lakewood Ranch Little League routed Manatee National 24-2.
John Shallcross delivered a double and run scored for National, but the day belonged to five Lakewood Ranch hitters.
Connor Shine, Stone Frishman, Peter Balos and Blake Wood each had two hits apiece, while John Schroeder had a double.
Wood's two hits were both doubles.
The 10-11-year-old contest between Buffalo Creek Blue and Lakewood Ranch ended after press time.