It was an all-941 area code showdown in the championship game of the United States Specialty Sports Association AA World Series’ 12-and-under division at Braden River Little League. A pair of high-scoring semifinal performances pitted Bradenton’s Mustangs Elite against Sarasota Vipers White in Thursday’s championship game of the Adidas Classic tournament.
And the Mustangs Elite pummeled the Sarasota Vipers, 18-5, to win the USSSA tournament after an up-and-down run through pool play.
The Mustangs finished 2-2 in Pool A and started Thursday with a play-in game against the Kentucky Thunderbats. The Mustangs Elite advanced to an all-Manatee County matchup against the Cortez Stone Crabs, who snagged the top seed with a 4-0 record in Pool A. A lopsided win sent the Mustangs into the championship, where they upset the Vipers to win the Suncoast Travel Ball-hosted tournament.
In the 14-and-under division, the only other division contested last week in the county, Bradenton’s Florida Burn 13U settled for second after a 10-2 loss to the St. Lucie Mets Select on Friday at Braden River. The Florida Burn’s two losses during the week came against the St. Lucie Mets, once to open Pool A play July 17 and in the championship game.
The Burn’s 3-1 record in Pool A was enough to earn one of the tournament’s four byes to Friday. The Burn, a perennial local powerhouse, began bracket play with a win against the St. Lucie Mets Select 13U, a different Mets team. In the semifinals, they beat the North Port Monarchs.
Kangaroo Court Gold, the other Tampa Bay area team in the 14-and-under bracket, reached the semifinals before falling to St. Lucie, 9-1.
Bradenton’s Tyler Zink wins USTA clay tourney
Tyler Zink is one of the top-ranked junior tennis players in the country. On Sunday, the Bradenton native picked up one of the biggest wins of his summer.
Playing with Boca Raton’s Christian Alshon, Zink won the United States Tennis Association National Clay Court Championships for 18-under doubles in Delray Beach. As the No. 5 seed, Zink and Alshon cruised to a 6-3, 6-2 win in the championship against the New York tandem of Patrick Maloney and Harris Walker, who were seeded 12th.
Zink competed in the singles draw as the 17th seed, but he was ousted in the Round of 32 with a 6-4, 6-3 loss to eighth-seeded Mac Kiger of New York.
The USTA ranks Zink 25th among 16-year-olds in the country, and Head’s recruiting rankings place him fifth among Florida players and 15th in the nation for the Class of 2019.