NORTH PORT — Losing was foreign to the Tigers major division team in North Port Little League play this season until they lost to the Rays, 10-4, on Saturday to force an extra game for the city championship.
But the Tigers (18-1 and 3-1 in the tournament) regained their winning ways Monday night at the Atwater Community Park and defeated the Rays 6-1 for the championship.
The Tigers scored three runs in the bottom of the first inning and never trailed. They put the game away in the bottom of the fifth inning with three runs, including a run-scoring double by Cooper Boggess.
Pitcher Deven Jackson pitched the distance for the Tigers and had an outstanding game. He collected three hits and drove in two runs.
The Tigers made some strong defensive plays behind Jackson. Gerado Santana also pitched well for the Rays, going the distance and not allowing a run between the first and fifth innings.
“Saturday, we made some mistakes,” said Tigers manager Dave Santimauro. “But the Rays played great and did a good job in the tournament.
“We played the way we’re capable of tonight.”
The Rays (15-8 and 3-2 in the tournament) rebounded from an earlier loss to the Tigers in the playoffs when they won twice Saturday to force Monday’s game for the championship.
They edged the Red Sox 3-2 in a standout pitching dual in the morning and then jumped on the Tigers early in taking their victory. Against the Red Sox, starting pitcher Jacob Lombard and reliever Santana stood out for the Rays. Eli Porinchak went the distance as the Red Sox’s pitcher. Rocco Valentine got a hit and scored the winning run for the Rays against the Red Sox.
Brock Mars was the starting pitcher for the Rays against the Tigers and went five innings. Dominic Poole pitched the rest of the way.
“We had a great day (Saturday),” said Rays manager Matt Valentine after Monday’s title game. “Our pitchers did a great job and we hit the ball well.”
The Red Sox did well, finishing 2-2 in the tournament and being competitive in most of their games in the regular season after a slow start.
“We improved a lot this season,” Red Sox manager Chris Wright said. “We finished in third place and placed well today.”
On Wednesday, the Tigers rolled over the Rays 13-1 and the Red Sox pounded the Yankees 12-2. Friday, the Red Sox edged the defending champion Blue Jays 7-5. Thursday’ games were postponed because of rain.
All the North Port major division teams are participating in the Battle of the Border tournament at Atwater Community Park in North Port this week.
The tournament is a single-elimination competition with the championship scheduled for Monday unless bad weather interferes.
The Rays played Venice Gondolier the Yankees met the Venice Lions in late games Tuesday night.
Tonight, the Tigers are playing R.J. LaBadie Construction from Englewood, the Blue Jays are taking on Moose Lodge of Venice and the Red Sox are meeting VNR.
More photos from the games are online at www.yoursun.com/northport