Gloves flew high in the air, 91-year-old Charlie Brush congratulated each of the players personally and coach Ira Berman led his team in the "Seminole chop."
Get ready, Tallahassee, here comes Seminole.
Mike Mann tossed a no-hitter and Corey Baptist hit his third homer in two days as Seminole defeated Tampa Bay 4-0 Sunday at Fisher Field to capture the Little League major baseball Section 7 title, earning a spot in this weekend's state tournament.
"Let them try to keep me from following these boys," chuckled Brush, who was the District 5 administrator for 17 years and has been associated with Little League for 47 years. "I think they can go all the way (to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.)
Up to the Tampa Bay game, Seminole's calling card had been its remarkable offense, which produced 18 homers in the previous 13 innings. Sunday, Mann showed Seminole was no one-trick pony.
"I'd only thrown one inning and like four pitches in the tournament (before Sunday)," Mann said. "I just wanted to show what I could do and throw strikes."
Seminole's righty ace did just that, striking out eight and walking one. Mixing a two-seam fastball with a four-seamer, Mann's change of speed with his heater was too much for Tampa Bay.
While Baptist (2-for-3) provided Seminole's lone long ball, the team patiently waited out Tampa Bay's pitchers, drawing six walks. Devin Kalck scored on a wild pitch in the first, Will Oberst (2-for-3) laced an RBI single in the third and Anthony Lamoureux had an RBI groundout in the same inning.
Seminole opens the state tournament Friday against Winter Park (1 p.m.) at Tallahassee's Canopy Oaks Community Park.
SENIOR BASEBALL: Seminole swept a doubleheader Sunday to earn the Section 7 title, advancing to the state tournament. Mike Carlin gave up two hits on the mound, had three singles and drove in three as Seminole beat Palm Harbor 15-1 in the opener. Seminole then defeated Northwest 11-3 behind strong pitching from brothers Joe and Tim Lamoureux.
Seminole, Palm Harbor and West Hernando all finished 2-1 in pool play. But according to the tiebreaker, Seminole's average defensive runs per inning (.53) edged West Hernando's (.95). Seminole advances to the state tournament in Windermere beginning Friday.
SENIOR STATE SOFTBALL: Seminole didn't go quietly, but the defending state champion finally fell to Port St. John 12-10 Sunday at Eddie C. Moore Complex in the semifinals.
Seminole, which earned a bye after going 3-0 in pool play, fell behind 12-1 against Port St. John and coach John Belvedere said the team "was just trying not to lose by the mercy rule" when it mounted a comeback in the fifth. Consecutive hits by Tracy Coward, Kristi Belvedere, Sarah Read, Lyndsey McKenna, Jenn Labau and a double from Emily Crawford pulled Seminole within 12-7. Seminole cut it to 12-10 in the sixth before stranding the tying runs on base in the seventh.
Port St. John went on to defeat Citrus Park 5-4 in the championship Monday.
DIZZY DEAN: Northwest's 12-under team is 2-0 in pool play at the World Series in Moody, Ala., after defeating Hixon, Tenn., 13-0 in a game shortened to four innings due to the run rule. Northwest's Alex McGathey (3-for-4) homered and Blake Warren went 3-for-4. Josh Devoe and Alex Ferguson both tripled for Northwest while Nate Aipel doubled and gave up one hit on the mound over four innings. Northwest also beat Limestone County, Ala., 5-1 behind another homer from McGathey. Aipel had a sacrifice fly and Warren a two-run single in the win.