For the first time in its history, Palmetto Little League is a softball section winner. Palmetto's 10-11 year-old team defeated Plant City twice on Friday at Pinecrest Little League in Lithia to win the Section-IV tournament and give the league its first-ever state tournament berth.
Palmetto beat Plant City 6-4 and 6-3, respectively, to earn the trip to this weekend's state tourney held at Clearwater Little League.
Team members include: Alexis Orluski, Lexi Childers, Melanie Brack, Morgan Simpson, Makenna Simpson, Raelin Mcallister, Makayla Huttinger, Abigail Mickel, Hailey Stovall, Kaileigh Donaldson, Erica Wilkinson and Courtney Waldo.
The manager is D.J. Childers and the coaches are Lacey Stovall and Vaughn Orluski.
Two Little League teams ousted; four remain alive
Manatee West's 9-10 year-old Little League All-Star team came within one game of winning the Section IV tournament last weekend at Tampa's Progress Village Little League.
West went 2-1 in the round-robin tourney, dropping its final game in a de facto championship game against Plant City.
West, based out of G.T. Bray, crushed Land O'Lakes 12-0 in a mercy-rule shortened game Friday, and added another
10-run rule victory over South Brandon (12-2) to begin Saturday's action.
Plant City, which also won both previous games by 10-run margins, was the final hurdle to the state tournament. However, Plant City secured the section title with an 11-3 victory.
West's Mac May had a home run during the section tournament.
Also having its season end this past weekend was Braden River Little League's Intermediate Division team. The squad went 1-2 in pool play, dropping its first two games by a total of two runs to Saint Cloud and Fort Myers American (pool winner) before winning the final game 12-5 against Hobe Sound at Wellington Little League.
With those setbacks, coupled with Lakewood Ranch's section tournament victory over the weekend to book its state tourney appearance at its home park, there remains three teams competing at section tourneys this upcoming weekend in Little League.
Buffalo Creek's 11-12s (Majors) division are at South Brandon Little League beginning Friday.
Braden River's juniors division starts Saturday at South Brandon LL. And Braden River's senior team is making its debut after getting an automatic district championship as the lone local entrant and its section tournament takes place Saturday at Progress Village LL.
Local referee honored
William "Bill" Siedlecki, was awarded the Florida High School Athletic Association's football official of the year at the FHSAA Leadership Conference in late June. Siedlecki, who has been an official for 26 years, is a member of the Gulf Coast Football Officials Association that covers high school games in Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, Hardee and DeSoto counties.
Siedlecki has spent the last four years with the GCFOA as the booking commissioner and was the association's president for 12 years. An increase of 30 percent in schools and member officials with a focus on retention and training of new members has come during his time on the board. Siedlecki has worked three state football finals, and also referees at the youth league, flag football and 7-on-7 football levels.
ODA baseball player garners MVP award
Out-of-Door Academy baseball player Desmond Lindsay was named the WWBA 17U National Championship tournament Most Valuable Player for the Evoshield Canes' travel baseball team this past week in Emerson, Ga.
He smacked an RBI double to lead the Canes to the title. He finished the tourney hitting .387 (12-for-31) with two doubles, a triple, three home runs, 10 RBIs, nine runs and a .500 on-base percentage.
The next stop is to Goodyear, Ariz., for the Perfect Game 17U World Series this week.
Jason Dill, sports reporter, can be reached at 745-7017 or via email at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @Jason__Dill