LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Power hitting and power pitching are two ingredients needed for Little League success.
The Buffalo Creek 11-12 All-Star team flashed both to capture the District 26 championship Wednesday at Lakewood Ranch Little League.
Buffalo Creek claimed the league's first Majors Division district title with the 11-4 victory over the tournament hosts.
The triumph is also the third straight district championship for the group, which also plays as the Parrish Piranhas travel baseball team throughout the year.
As 9- and 10-year-olds, they fell just shy in the sectional tournament.
Last season as 10- and 11-year-olds, Buffalo Creek's players advanced to the state tournament. Now they head to the Section IV tournament at the South Brandon Little League on July 18-19 as 11- and 12-year-olds.
Buffalo Creek opens pool play against Land O'Lakes on July 18 before resuming July 19 against South Brandon and the yet-to-be-determined District 4 champion.
"Every team you play against is a travel ball team," Buffalo Creek manager Scott Sullivan said. "When we go up to sectionals, we'll face
the South Brandon Hornets. We beat that team and Plant City to earn the free berth to the World Series that we just came from. They're a real good team. That was the first time we beat them in travel ball. ... I'm pretty confident and I can see the boys are pretty confident, but the South Brandon Hornet Little League will be a tough game."
The offense gelled immediately when Buffalo Creek knocked Lakewood Ranch starting pitcher Brett Thoma from the game in the first inning by scoring six runs.
Josh Lundy's two-run single and Jacob D'Urso's three-run home run did most of the damage.
Buffalo Creek added a run in the second inning and two in the third inning, highlighted by Sean Myers' solo home run, and two more in the fourth inning that saw Diego Cardenas wallop a solo shot well over the left-field fence.
From there, Matthew Sullivan breezed through Lakewood Ranch's lineup with relative ease.
The left-hander issued one walk and allowed six hits, but struck out eight batters in 5 1/3 innings.
"He pitched really well in the North Carolina tournament (last weekend)," Scott Sullivan said. "And then I expected it when he came down here to pitch the same way. So he's looked good the last few outings."
Sullivan was lifted because of the pitch-count rule, and Lundy got the final two outs.
Ranch did land the first punch when Camden Sprague hit a solo home run in the top of the first inning.
Buffalo Creek responded with six runs in its half of the inning. George Davis also launched a solo home run in the third inning to trim the deficit to four runs, but Buffalo Creek eventually had too much firepower.
"Good hitting teams like Buffalo Creek, you've got to be spot on with your targets," Lakewood Ranch manager Brad Clatt said. "And when you see some of those at 12 years old, they're going to miss every now and then. And a good team like is going to capitalize on it. But I don't really think we got demoralized to be candid. Guys had real good positive attitudes. ... It's hard to defend the long ball. When you have ground balls coming to you and we're making plays, you can control a game. But it's hard to defend the long ball."
Ranch's leading hitters were Thoma (2-for-4), Sprague (home run), Davis (2-for-3, home run) and Mikey Gagnon (double).
Buffalo Creek's leading hitters were Cardenas (2-for-4, home run), Myers (3-for-3, home run) and D'Urso (home run).