BRADENTON -- The team that stays together wins together.
Just ask Buffalo Creek's 10-11 All-Star team, whose players are also part of Piranhas Baseball, a travel squad based in Parrish.
Now they're on the way to Melbourne after winning last week's Section IV tournament.
Buffalo Creek opens state play 10:30 a.m. Friday against Palm Harbor.
"The kids are good, they practice hard," said Buffalo Creek's Scott Sullivan, "and they put a lot of time and effort in."
Oh, and they also score runs. A lot of runs.
Just check out last week's sectional run, which began with a 12-6 win over Lutz, which defeated Buffalo Creek in last year's tournament.
"The kids were really fired up," Sullivan said.
Buffalo Creek then fell behind 7-0 to North Brandon in the sectional final before forcing extra innings and rallying for an 11-10 victory. Eric
Rinderman helped spur the comeback with a three-run home run, and Matthew Sullivan and Taylor Steier had multi-hit games.
"It's pretty much been a team effort," said Scott Sullivan, who said seven players on the team have hit a least two home runs, and whose team has scored 11 runs a game through sectional. "We've been scoring a lot of runs, but unfortunately, we've been giving up a lot of runs, too."
A successful run through the state tournament could provide a scheduling conflict for Buffalo Creek. The state championship game is scheduled for Monday, but the Piranhas are in a tournament in Myrtle Beach beginning with Monday's skill competition and a game at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.
"We'll be cutting it close if we make it that far," Scott Sullivan said. "But in Little League, we're trying to win states, and Myrtle Beach is on the backburner."
The main goal, of course, is for the players to have fun, Sullivan said. Yes, Buffalo Creek wants to win. But no one is taking it seriously enough to squeeze the enjoyment out of it.
"You take it too serious, and you see some of these coaches who yell and scream, and the kids walk off the field crying," Scott Sullivan said. "We try to make it a great atmosphere.
"They are all psyched. The kids are pumped up and ready to roll."