Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Deficit can't slow Largo junior baseball team

The Largo junior baseball team had yet to face a deficit during play at the Little League Section 7 tournament over the weekend.

And it picked an unfortunate time to fall behind for the first time.

Facing Palma Ceia in Sunday's championship game at Cross Bayou Little League, Largo found itself trailing 7-6 with one inning to play thanks to a three-run Palma Ceia sixth-inning home run.

The forlorn faces in the Largo dugout were quick to disappear.

Down to its final out, Largo scored the tying run on a catcher's interference call, then scored three more times in the seventh inning to take a 10-7 lead.

Largo gave up a run in the bottom of the seventh to escape with a 10-8 victory over Palma Ceia and take the sectional crown with a 3-0 tournament record.

Largo was the only county team to win a sectional tournament this season.

"All 12 of our kids have just been incredibly hard workers," Largo manager Bob Gibree said. "They're a really good group that loves to play. I'll call for a 6 p.m. practice, and I'll get there at 5:30 p.m. and there will be 10 kids already there taking grounders."

Largo advances to this weekend's eight-team state tournament, where it will open against the Section 5 champion at 4 p.m. Friday. Largo will play two more pool games Saturday. Pool winners and runnersup advance to Sunday's semifinals. The championship is scheduled for Monday.

Against Palma Ceia, which also entered Sunday's championship 2-0, Javier Otero put Largo ahead with an RBI single in the first inning.

With the scored tied at 1 in the third, Steven Petrilyak doubled home a run to give Largo a 2-1 lead. After Palma Ceia tied the game in the bottom half of the inning, Petrilyak uncorked a two-run home run in the fourth to give Largo a two-run cushion.

"That was a big, big hit," Gibree said.

Largo entered the sixth inning with a 6-4 lead before Palma Ceia's three-run home had the team trailing for the first time in the tournament.

With the bases loaded and two outs in the seventh, Gibree gave Otero the sign at third to steal home. Palma Ceia's catcher moved up to take the pitch early, but in the process interfered with Troy Cardenas' swing at the plate. Cardenas was awarded first on catcher's interference and Otero scored the tying run. A couple of walks and an unearned run later and Largo secured a 10-7 lead it would hold for the championship.

Petrilyak started on the mound for Largo and lasted four innings, giving up four runs. Andy Weiss entered in the seventh with runners on first and second but got out of the jam to pick up the save.

"That Palma Ceia team was loaded with talent," Gibree said. "One through nine, up and down the lineup, they had great players."

On Saturday, Largo rode Tyler Short's complete-game performance into the championship with a 7-2 win over Seminole.

Short gave up one earned and one unearned run to record the victory; 63 of his 85 pitches went for strikes.

"I told him before the game he was going to be our horse, and he needed to saddle up," Gibree said. "If he could go only three or four innings, we were going to be in trouble. But he told me, 'Coach, I can go the distance.' He was unbelievable."

Otero hit a home run, his third since the start of tournament play, in the fourth inning. Weiss, Ryan Cunningham and Ruben Aguirre had RBI singles.

Largo opened the sectional tournament Friday with a 3-1 victory over Greater Hudson.

Largo got solid pitching from starter Angel Torres Jr., who gave up one run in four innings, and reliever Derek Gibree, who shut out Hudson over two innings. Andrew Murphy pitched a perfect seventh inning to record a save.

Otero singled home a run in the first, and Largo scored twice in the opening inning to take an early lead. Murphy knocked in an insurance run in the seventh with an RBI single.

SECTIONAL NEWS: Palm Harbor came within one run of advancing to the state Little League tournament in the major baseball division. The District 12 champion defeated Central Citrus 6-5 Friday and Seminole 12-2 Saturday to set up a showdown with unbeaten Bayshore in Sunday's championship at Seminole Little League, but Palm Harbor fell 6-5 and had to settle for the sectional runnerup trophy. … Seminole finished 1-2 and took third in the major baseball sectional. … In junior baseball, Seminole went 0-3 to place fourth. … Southwest/Cross Bayou defeated Clearwater 13-11 Saturday for its only tournament win in the senior baseball sectional at Seminole LL. Southwest/Cross Bayou placed third; Clearwater, winless for the tournament, was fourth.

To report scores

Coaches are asked to call 1-800-333-7505, ext. 8123 no later than 11 p.m. each night.

On the Web

Have a question for one of our prep writers? Check out our high school sports blog at

fast facts

Little League All Stars Sectional Tournaments

Section 7

Friday's results

Major baseball: Central Citrus 6, Palm Harbor 5; Bayshore 8, Seminole 2

Junior baseball: Largo 3, Greater Hudson 1

Senior baseball: Crystal River 12, Clearwater 0

Saturday's results

Major baseball: Bayshore 4, Central Citrus 1; Palm Harbor 12, Seminole 2

Junior baseball: Palma Ceia 8, Greater Hudson 6; Largo 7, Seminole 2

Senior baseball: Crystal River 19, Palma Ceia 13; Southwest/Cross Bayou 13, Clearwater 11

Sunday's results

Major baseball: Seminole 7, Central Citrus 2; Bayshore 6, Palm Harbor 5

Bayshore wins sectional championship

Junior baseball: Greater Hudson 9, Seminole 5; Largo 10, Palma Ceia 8

Largo wins sectional championship

Senior baseball: Crystal River 23, Southwest/Cross Bayou 0; Palma Ceia 13, Clearwater 7

Crystal River wins sectional championship

Deficit can't slow Largo junior baseball team 07/26/10 [Last modified: Monday, July 26, 2010 11:00pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays vs. Mariners, 7:10 Friday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Mariners

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun, 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Austin Pruitt (50) in the dugout during the ninth inning of the game between the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays on Opening Day at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, April 2, 2017. The Tampa Bay Rays beat the New York Yankees 7-3.
  2. Rays waste repeated opportunities in 5-3 loss to Blue Jays

    The Heater

    TORONTO — Rays manager Kevin Cash made a case for urgency before Thursday's game, in both actions and words, making significant changes to the structure of the lineup and sincere comments about time running short.

    Trevor Plouffe of the Rays reacts as he pops out with the bases loaded in the sixth inning. [Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images]
  3. Confederate statue: Why Bucs, Lightning, Rays took a stand


    They didn't want another Charlottesville.

    Marc Rodriguez, a member of the "Florida Fight for $15" organization, stands in protest along with other activists demanding the Confederate  monument be removed from the old Hillsborough County Courthouse in Tampa. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  4. Kevin Cash: 'We've got to turn it around. ... Time is of the essence'


    The question to manager Kevin Cash was about a rematch with the Mariners this weekend at the Trop, but he made clear this afternoon that with his Rays losing nine of their last 12 that they have to treat every game as essential.

    "We've got to start playing good baseball games whether we match up well against that team or not," Kevin Cash said.
  5. Lightning wing J.T. Brown on why he donated to remove Confederate statue


    Lightning wing J.T. Brown was back in his Minneapolis offseason home over the weekend when he saw on TV the violent protests in Charlottesville over the removal of a Confederate statue.

    J.T. Brown decided to get involved, donating $1,500 to assist in removing a Confederate statue in Tampa.