After forcing a final game with a 3-0 win over previously unbeaten Northside on Friday night, the Tampa Bay Mets rode the bat of David Landkammer to a 15-11 victory over Northside for the Little League division championship in the District 6 Tournament of Champions.
Landkammer drove in five runs Saturday with a three-run homer in the second inning and a two-run double in the fourth. He also scored twice. Wesley Smith went 4-for-4, including a three-run homer in the fourth, to knock in four runs.
The Mets took a 4-0 lead in the second inning and picked up eight more runs in the top of the fourth to increase the lead to 12-0. Despite being down by such a large margin, Northside came back with eight runs in the bottom of the inning.
The Mets added three insurance runs in the fifth for a 15-8 lead. Northside closed the gap to 15-11, but was robbed by shortstop Stephen Anderson's two-out circus catch with two runners on. Anderson produced offensively as well, going 2-for-3 and scoring twice.
Landkammer picked up the win before being relieved by Phillip Wallace.
Mark Bower also was key to Tampa Bay's championship, pitching six shutout innings in Friday's game. Contributors on offense were Anderson (3-for-4, one run scored), Jason Semeyn (2-for-3, scored three times), and Dustin Hulbert (2-for-3, scored once).
Senior National: After entering Friday's finals out of the losers bracket, the West Tampa Athletics knew they had an uphill climb if they were going to beat the Northside Mariners and claim the Senior National championship. However, they didn't know how steep that climb would be.
Needing to win two games in a row, the Athletics came through in dramatic fashion with late-inning rallies in both games.
Friday night, West Tampa found itself in what would be a familiar position, down 9-8 to Northside. The Athletics rallied for three runs behind David Lee's two-run base hit and forced the final game with a 12-10 win.
West Tampa was forced to play without ace pitcher T.J. Hines, who was not eligible for Friday's game and suffered from a sore arm on Saturday, but pitchers Marco Vasquez and Jason Foley were able to come through. Foley pitched four innings Friday night, allowing one hit and striking out nine. Vasquez allowed two hits in five innings Saturday and struck out 11. Hines was 3-0 in the tournament with one no-hitter.
In Saturday's game, the Athletics found themselves down 5-0 entering the fourth, but closed to 5-4 behind a two-run homer by Foley. Both teams scored again and West Tampa entered the top of the seventh down 7-6. Shane Guiliano's two-run double sparked a three-run seventh that gave West Tampa a 9-7 lead and the championship. Guiliano had three RBI for the game with a double and a single.
Senior American: Danny Jiordano pitched five strong innings, striking out six, as the Northside Cardinals defeated the Citrus Park Yankees 8-6 to claim the Senior American title. Darrell Formico came on in the sixth and closed out the win.
The Cardinals were able to build a 4-1 lead in the fourth inning with run-scoring singles by Jiordano and Nick Hurles. However, Citrus Park came back to take a 6-4 lead in the top of the fourth.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Cardinals took advantage of some less-than-spectacular play by Citrus Park to score four runs. Greg Conlon led the Northside rally with a two-run base hit.
Little League softball: The Tampa Bay Herons claimed the Tournament of Champions softball crown with 10-9 and 7-5 victories over the previously unbeaten Yellow Jackets.
Amanda Heider and Jessica Linsky each pitched no-hitters in the tournament and each struck out eight in their games against the Yellow Jackets.
Friday night, Tampa Bay was able to build an 8-1 lead behind the pitching of Heider. But the Yellow Jackets came back and closed to within 10-9 in the last inning. Tampa Bay kept the game from going into extra innings when centerfielder Mary Sutton Gonzolez, Heider and catcher Jessica Whitehead combined for the last out as the tying run was nearing home.
Tampa Bay made up a three-run deficit to clinch the championship on Saturday. Trailing 3-0 in the bottom of the first, the Herons used a combination of hits, walks, steals and bunts to close the score to 3-2.
Trailing 5-2 in the bottom of the fourth, the Herons closed the gap again on Linsky's two-run double. Pinch-hitter Jessica Harmeling kept the rally alive with a two-out base hit in the fifth, and the Yellow Jackets then walked the next three batters to give Tampa Bay the championship.
"They (Yellow Jackets) ran and hit better than us, but we had much better pitching," said Tampa Bay manager Donald Linsky.