Little League notebook: Largo squad reaches title game at region tournament

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Mon. August 6, 2012 | Derek J. LaRiviere

Largo has a major opportunity after winning its semifinal Monday in the Little League Senior Baseball Southeast Region Tournament in Melbourne.

With a 6-3 victory over South Carolina representative Darlington County, Largo (12-3) advanced to the championship game.

Chris D’Angelo, a standout for Largo High, took the mound for the All-Star team and was effective pitching to contact. Although he struck out only two, D’Angelo was around the strike zone for his five innings and allowed only two runs.

He got run support the same way Largo has been providing it throughout this postseason — with two outs. A two-out RBI single from Andy Weiss was followed by a two-out, two-run double in the fourth by nine-hole hitter Tanner Fields.

“This may not be the most talented group of kids, but it’s the best team I’ve ever had,” Largo coach Bob Gibree said. “They make so many two-out plays defensively and get so many two-out hits.”

Tyler Short, another Largo High pitcher, finished off the game by tossing the final two frames, allowing only one run.

With a victory at 10:30 this morning against West Melbourne in the title game, Largo would become the first Suncoast team to advance to the Little League Senior World Series in Bangor, Maine, since Dade City in 2004. The teams squared off Sunday with the host team winning 5-3, but the game was tied going into the fifth inning.

“I am glad that we’ve played them once already because the unknown is gone,” Gibree said. “We’ve seen them and we know they’re good, but we’re just as good as they are.”

Majors Baseball: Plant City’s run to reach Williamsport, Pa., for the Little League World Series ended Monday.

Plant City, which began its trip to Warner Robins, Ga., with a convincing win Friday, lost for the second straight game in the Southeast Region Tournament. North Carolina representative Tar Heel upended the Hillsborough County squad 6-4.

For the second straight game, poor defense and minimal production from the bottom of the order cost Plant City (11-3). While Tate Whatley Jr. hit the team’s first home run of the tournament, a two-run shot in the third, the Nos. 6 through 9 spots in the lineup went a combined 1-for-11.

Even with little production from anyone but Whatley and Austin Eldridge (1-for-2, RBI, walk) , starting pitcher Benji Hidalgo (complete game, three earned runs, six strikeouts, one walk) was throwing well enough that Plant City held a 4-3 advantage going into the fifth inning.

An error in the third accounted for three runs, all unearned, but the performance in the fifth was all about North Carolina’s power. Hidalgo gave up a solo homer and a two-run homer in the inning.

Plant City will play a consolation game against Shinnston, W.Va., at 10 a.m. today.

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