Little League and Dixie League youth baseball and softball teams from the area are still alive in postseason tournaments. As is usually the case, the Tampa Bay area has fared well against the best the state has to offer.
Thursday, Spring Hill American beat Bushnell 8-0 in the Dixie AAA Minors (9-10) Baseball state championship at Freeport.
Zeth Rodriguez tossed four shutout innings and hit two three-run home runs in the 15-0 semifinal victory West Seminole National on Wednesday night.
The Hernando County squad advances to the World Series in Laurel, Miss., starting Aug. 3.
The local teams didn't fare as well in the Florida Dixie Majors (17-19) Baseball state tourney in Avon Park. Heartland defeated Spring Hill 6-1 in the final.
Hernando (2-1) and Spring Hill (2-1) were two of the three best teams in the tournament. Hernando handed Heartland its only loss of the tournament 2-1, in a game tossed by Andrew Zabriskie and Robbie Frantzis. After falling to Heartland 4-3 the next day, Spring Hill, Hernando and Heartland each had one loss.
After losing to Hernando 3-0 in the first round, Spring Hill reached the final by knocking off its county rival 11-3.
This was the best local showing at the tournament since Hernando won the Dixie Majors World Series in 2000.
Here's this weekend's other local state championship:
Little League Juniors (13-14) Softball
Where: Fleishman Regional Complex, Fort Myers
Teams: South Tampa, Dade City, East Orange, West Melbourne, Naples, Cocoa
2012 champion: Palma Ceia/Tampa Bay
Update: After the impressive performance the Palma Ceia/Tampa Bay Little League All-Stars put up last year, South Tampa and Dade City know they are capable of going far in this field. The champion will qualify for the Southeast Region Tournament, also in Fort Myers, July 26-Aug. 1.