EAST MANATEE -- Manatee West has lived to see another day.
The next mission: live to see another.
Manatee West knocked off Lakewood Ranch 9-8 on Tuesday in the consolation finals of the juniors division of the District 26 Little League Tournament and returns to Braden River to face the hosts at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.
A win is all Braden River needs to clinch the title while Manatee West needs to win twice. If Manatee West wins, the teams return to Braden River on Thursday.
"I feel good about my team," Manatee West coach Ricky Reyes said.
His team made it very interesting Monday, jumping out to 4-0 and 7-2 leads before Lakewood Ranch scored two runs and had two runners with two outs in the bottom of the seventh.
But Manatee West pitcher Nathan Lewis struck out Matt Bourque to clinch the win.
Lewis earned the win in relief, allowing two earned runs in 3 2/3 innings, retiring the first five guys he faced.
"Amazing," Reyes said. "And he's my catcher."
Manatee West wasted little time scoring, taking a 4-0 lead in the first. The big blow was a towering two-run triple by Collin Moore, who finished with three RBIs and came within a home run of hitting for the cycle.
Ricky Reyes, the coach's son, reached base twice and scored, while Lewis and Seth Miller added run-scoring hits for Manatee West, which lost to Lakewood Ranch earlier in the tournament.
But Lakewood Ranch didn't go quietly in the seventh. Dylan Perrone led off with a single, went to second on a balk, stole third and scored on a groundout by Steve Sebaschink.
Tyler Weott doubled and scored on a bloop single by Andrew Foege. But after issuing a walk, Lewis got out of trouble and pitched Manatee West into the championship round.
Sebaschink had two RBIs and Weott also drove in a run for Lakewood Ranch.
Manatee West now turns its gaze to Braden River.
"I have a lot of confidence in this team," coach Reyes said. "I have three fresh arms, and believe me, all of them are going to be used."