Despite rain, youth baseball tourneys roll on

LAKEWOOD RANCH -- The home team in baseball has the advantage of batting last.

That advantage didn't amount to much as all four visiting teams ran roughshod over the competition in mercy-rule shortened games during the opening of the District 26 Little League All-Star tournament Friday at Manatee East Little League.

Each scoreboard on the four fields in play read 2-0 in favor of the visiting team before a treacherous thunderstorm delayed the games for a little more than two hours.

Then the offense poured in when the rain and lightning left the vicinity, taking the games close to the curfew time of midnight.

The Braden River-Manatee National 9-and-10-year-old game finished after midnight, with Braden River winning 21-3 in five innings.

Some of Braden River's leading hitters were: Tommy Hubbard (3-for-4, double, three runs), Christian Lowe (2-for-4, double, three runs), Henry Nelson (4-for-4, two doubles, three runs) and Kyle Metters (3-for-4, two runs).

Paul Buechner (1-for-2), Nicholas Grandal (1-for-1, double, walk, run) and Preston Plath (1-for-2, run) led Manatee National.

North River National beat North River American 15-1 in a four-inning 9-and-10 contest.

Zach Rodgers went 2-for-3 with two runs for NRN. Wesley Quick (1-for-1, two walks, two runs), Dillon Sullivan (2-for-4, two runs), Jacob Josey (2-for-3, walk, three runs), Anthony Calhoun (1-for-1, two walks, two runs) and Liam O'Donnel (1-for-1, two walks, two runs) also had big games for NRN.

The final 9-and-10 game lasted four innings, with Manatee East putting away Manatee American 12-0.

Parker Shanahan and Mason Fischer combined on a no-hitter for the winners.

Fischer (2-for-3, run), Shanahan (2-for-2, walk, double, two runs), Cade Bonnett (1-for-3, double, two runs), Connor Knapp (1-for-2, run), Harrison Thiel (2-for-3, two runs) and No. 7 hitter Charlie George (2-for-2, walk, double, triple, two runs) added the offensive support for Manatee East.

There was one 10-and-11-year-old matchup Friday night, and it ended like the 9s-and-10s did, with a shortened game due to the mercy rule.

Manatee East stopped Manatee Central 14-1 in five innings.

East's Noah Camp allowed just one hit and one earned run in the complete game victory.

Rhett Rampinelli (4-for-4, two runs), Andrew Berg (2-for-3, two runs), Kyle Hayden (2-for-4, run), Tyler Weott (2-for-4, three runs), Steven Varone (2-for-3, two runs) and No. 9 hitter Garrett Kelly (3-for-4, two runs) gave Camp all the run support that was needed.

Action resumes today with four games slated to start at 10 a.m.

Meanwhile, earlier in the day, Manatee Cal Ripken Baseball's 10-and-under team fell to Sarasota 9-3 and now has to navigate a victory in the loser's bracket of the double-elimination tournament at 10 a.m. today.

A win gives the club a rematch against Sarasota at 1 p.m. where Sarasota would try to close out the championship with a victory.

The 12-and-under team lost to fellow county team Manatee West Cal Ripken and was eliminated with the defeat.