Countryside moved one step closer to winning the south division championship of the Tournament of Champions Majors (ages 10-12) baseball division with a thrilling 5-4 win over nemesis and perennial powerhouse Dunedin National on Friday.
It was the first time a majors baseball team had beaten Dunedin National in the Tournament of Champions, according to Countryside manager Steve Allen. Dunedin National has dominated the tournament recently, winning three of the past four titles.
"This is a big step and moment for us," said Allen, whose team will play for the south division championship Monday night at Safety Harbor starting at 7. "It was a real barn-burner."
Dunedin National played Clearwater National on Saturday for the loser's bracket championship. The winner of that game must beat Countryside twice to advance. The first south division championship game is Monday at 7 p.m.; a second game, if necessary, would be Tuesday.
Against Dunedin National on Friday, Sean Donahue snapped a 4-4 tie in the fifth inning with an RBI double that proved to be the game-winning hit. Donahue had given Countryside an earlier lead with his second homer of the tournament in the second inning.
"All the kids played super," Allen said. "It was the kind of game that put a few more gray hairs on me."
Bronk Allen contributed a key RBI single in the third while Kyle Linskog and Matt Guthrie combined for the win, each pitching three innings.
In other action: Brendan Fuller had five RBI, including a homer as Clearwater National defeated Largo National 13-3 to stay alive in the Majors north division Tournament of Champions.
Ben Krentzman had two doubles and a single to aid the offense and also picked up the win while going the distance for Clearwater National.
Kyle Richmond had two doubles to contribute to the offense and Kevin Richmond had a single. Paul Metcalf added two singles and Robby Foster had a key double.
Juniors baseball (age 13): Josh Kitterman picked up the win, throwing five innings and had a key double and triple as Dunedin National routed Clearwater American 12-2 in a winner's bracket game on Friday.
Trevor Rhodes hit a grand slam and had an RBI double to lead the offense with five RBI as Dunedin National moved into the winner's bracket championship game, which will be played on Wednesday night at Clearwater American.
Seniors baseball (ages 13-15): David Griffin had seven RBI and went 5-for-5 with two triples as Palm Harbor American blasted Largo National 19-5 in a loser's bracket game Friday.
Palm Harbor American plays East Lake on Monday at 7 p.m. Two key games in the winner's bracket were played Saturday as West Pasco played Clearwater National and Dunedin American played Dunedin National.
Palm Harbor American's Rick Padenske and Josh Vandenberg combined to scatter seven hits and strikeout seven to stop Largo National on Friday. Aaron Gill, Brian Sisek and Padenske aided the offense with two hits apiece while Chris Maronpot scored three runs and Tony Bassone had a two-run triple.
In other action: East Lake overcame a 9-2 deficit to defeat Holiday 20-12 in a slugfest in a loser's bracket game Friday.
Dan Stillman had four RBI and two hits to lead the offense while Ryan Matiyak and Justin Sills added two hits apiece. Ryan Snare, Jonathan Stewart, Ryan Hall, Matt DeVivo and David Tamm had key hits during East Lake's rally. East Lake turned three double plays, including two started by second baseman Matiyak.
Holiday was led by Nick Ramos and Cory Jacobs who had four hits and four RBI between them. Eric Johnston and Matt Tafuri added two hits apiece for Holiday.
Seniors softball (ages 13-15): Chrissy Clements and Jayme Albersson combined on a two-hitter as Palm Harbor American downed Oldsmar 13-3 in a loser's bracket game Friday night.
Palm Harbor American plays the winner of Saturday's game between Hudson and Largo American on Monday night at 7 in West Pasco.
Kristina Kennedy hit a grand slam early in the game to set the tone for Palm Harbor American.
Vivian Ko and Martina Schon added four hits and four RBI between them while Robyn Thomas, Heather Williams and Beth Ciansoner played strong defense in the infield.
District 5 (Big League ages 16-18): Brian Killingsworth had four hits as Northeast defeated Pinellas Park 16-13 earlier in the week.
Jason Hartley added a homer while Rick Davis had four hits for Pinellas Park in a losing cause.
In another game, Bobby Banzhof threw a complete game as Northeast defeated Seminole 8-2. Lincoln Yates and Greg Schurig combined for five hits to lead the offense.
To report Little League highlights, please contact Wayne McKnight at 893-8129 or 867-8743. You can also fax information to 893-8782 anytime during the week. The information must include specific highlights of games or the season and important statistics. Please make sure all players' names are spelled correctly. To report scores only, please call 893-8201 and leave a message.
District 12 Tournament of Champions
Major baseball (ages 10-12)
NORTH (AT HOLIDAY)
East Lake 5, Palm Harbor National 3
Oldsmar 8, Tarpon Springs 5
Palm Harbor National vs. Oldsmar
SOUTH (AT SAFETY HARBOR)
Largo National 2, West Pinellas 0
Largo American 8, Safety Harbor 6
Clearwater National 14, Largo American 1
Countryside 5, Dunedin National 4
Clearwater National 14, Largo National 2
Dunedin National vs. Clearwater National, 7 p.m.
Junior baseball (ages 13)
AT CLEARWATER AMERICAN
Palm Harbor National 13, Oldsmar 8
Countryside 15, West Pinellas 0
Dunedin National 12, Clearwater American 2
Countryside vs. Palm Harbor American, 5 p.m.
Dunedin American vs. Palm Harbor National, 5 p.m.
Senior baseball (ages 13-15)
AT DUNEDIN AMERICAN
Clearwater National 10, Holiday 0
Dunedin American 14, Tarpon Springs 5
Dunedin National 5, Countryside 4
Tarpon Springs 10, Palm Harbor National 9
East Lake 20, Holiday 12
Palm Harbor National 19, Largo National 5
West Pasco vs. Clearwater National, 5 p.m.
Dunedin American vs. Dunedin National, 5 p.m.
Clearwater American vs. Countryside, 5 p.m.
Major softball (ages 10-12)
AT WEST PASCO
Safety Harbor 22, Dunedin American 16
West Pasco 16, East Lake 15
Oldsmar 20, West Pinellas 14
West Pasco 15, Safety Harbor 3
Dunedin National vs. Largo American, 1 p.m.
Countryside vs. Palm Harbor National, 1 p.m.
Senior softball (ages 13-15)
AT WEST PASCO
Dunedin National 10, West Pasco 3
Palm Harbor American 13, Oldsmar 3
West Pinellas vs. Dunedin American, 4 p.m.
Safety Harbor vs. Dunedin National, 4 p.m.