Monday, December 18, 2017
Sports

Little League notebook: Largo offense fizzles as run ends with title game shutout

The two Little League teams still alive in tournament play on the Suncoast finished their seasons Tuesday.

Largo, which reached the championship game of the Senior Baseball Southeast Region Tournament in Melbourne, fell 10-0 to the host team, West Melbourne.

This is the farthest any Greater Largo Little League team has advanced in any division during the organization's 52-year history.

While West Melbourne started its ace, Largo (12-4) was down to its fifth pitcher because of must-win situations the past three games. When left-hander Travis Carden took the mound, the team was already in a tough spot.

Amassing only two hits in the game, those baserunners were erased by double plays from the stellar West Melbourne defense. Largo hitters also struck out seven times.

"Their starter was pretty dominant," Largo coach Bob Gibree said. "Every time we had something going, their defense made a play. It was pretty deflating."

The Pinellas County All-Stars were built around pitching and defense, and playing from an early four-run deficit did not suit them.

Majors baseball: Plant City, eliminated from contention Monday, finished its season with a consolation game Tuesday in the Southeast Region Tournament in Warner Robins, Ga. The team ended on a strong note with a 14-6 win over Shinnston, W.Va.

The star of the game was catcher Tate Whatley Jr., son of manager Tate Whatley Sr. Whatley hit two homers, accounting for four runs. He finished 4-for-5 with four runs and four RBIs. His tournament totals were the best the region has seen in three years. With four home runs and 11 RBIs to go with a .714 average, he is the first hitter to finish above .700 since 2009.

His four home runs are more than the leader the previous two seasons. New Tampa's Aaron Guiang and Conor Grady, Alabama's Conor Schultz, North Carolina's Laney Orr, and Viera-Suntree's Anthony Castagnaro and Jackson Prater had three in 2010 and '11. The 11 RBIs beat the totals from Schultz and New Tampa's Clayton Coringrato, who each had 10.

All 12 members of the roster for Plant City (12-3) had a hit against West Virginia, including nine for extra bases. Benji Hidalgo (1-for-2, walk, run, double) joined Whatley as the only players to hit over .500 for the tournament.

Correction: Derek Gibree got the win for the Largo senior baseball team in Saturday's 3-0 win over North Carolina's Myrtle Grove in the Southeast Region Tournament. Incorrect information was provided to the Times.

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