NORTH PORT — The Tigers and Rays showed why they were the top teams in the North Port Little League’s major division when they won second-round games in the playoffs Tuesday night at the Atwater Community Park.
The Tigers, 16-0 on the season, got off to a fast start and hung on to defeat the defending champion Blue Jays 6-5. The Rays, who were second in the regular season, rolled past the Red Sox 13-5.
The Tigers jumped to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning and increased their advantage to 5-0 in the third inning before the Bue Jays came fighting back to cut the lead to 6-5 in the fifth inning. But the Tigers got the Blue Jays out in order in the sixth inning to gain the victory. Landon Wade was the starting pitcher for the winners.
Devon Jackson and Alexis Pereira also pitched for the Tigers. Hunter Carlson had two hits and two RBIs for the winners. He has been a consistent hitter all season for the Tigers.
“We could have done better but we still won,” said Tigers manager Dave Santimauro. “But give credit to them (the Blue Jays). They came to play and never quit.”
A.J. Heydet, Kaden Racean and Rylan Bradley all pitched for the Blue Jays.
In the other game, the Red Sox scored two runs in the first inning for a 2-0 lead, but the Rays came back to pull away for the victory. Dwon Swallwag had four hits and four RBI for the Rays.
Brock Mars added two hits and four RBIs and Rocco Valentine and Gerado Santana both added three hits.
“Hitting has been our strong point all season,” said Rays manager Matt Valentine. “And it was again tonight.”
Jake Lombard was the starting pitcher for the Rays. Santana, Mars and Ty Murray followed Lombard in the pitching duties.
The Blue Jays defeated the Yankees 11-5 on Monday night to gain the right to play the Tigers.
Weather permitting, the championship game will be played at 10 a.m. today If the unbeaten team loses, a second game will be played at 1 p.m.
In the minor division championship game Saturday, the Rattlers took a 17-5 victory over the Storm for the championship.
Alexandro Bonanno-Kangowski belted a two-run home run and a double to lead the winners’ attack. Angelo Branscum and Christian Ibarra pitched for the Rattlers.
The Rattlers won their last nine games to win the playoff championship. They defeated the Scrappers 11-4 in the semifinals. The Rattlers were the third-place finishers in the regular season.
“The key to our success was our pitching and our excellent infield defense,” said Rattlers manager Christian Ibarra. “They did a very good job.”
Following the playoffs, the five major division teams will take part in the Battle of the Border Tournament stating Tuesday at the Atwater Park. Teams from North Port, Englewood and Venice are scheduled to compete in the tournament.
The tournament is a single-elimination competition.