BROOKSVILLE – Brooksville’s Dixie Baseball AAA Majors (ages 11-12) All-Stars broke out of a two-game batting slump Thursday night at Ernie Wever Youth Park by rapping a game-high 13 hits to overcome four errors and trim San Antonio, 7-6.
As nine Brooksville batters collected at least one hit during the third-place game of the District 6 Tournament, the hosts were led by the two-hit efforts of Dylan Weigl, Javier Bonilla, Stevie Taylor and Trenton Maner.
In the water-downed six-team field, Bushnell (4-1) collected its third straight district crown Friday night by tattooing South Lake (4-2) via the 10-run mercy rule in five innings, 10-0.
Brooksville had opened the six-day event by edging Wesley Chapel on June 21, 5-4, before falling in back-to-back tilts at the hands of South Lake on Monday, 3-1, and Bushnell on Wednesday, 9-3.
Despite Brooksville’s 2-2 run and the fact the district’s top three teams qualified for the 59th annual AAA Majors State Championship starting July 19 at Freeport, skipper Steve Taylor declined an invitation to attend the prestigious Walton County event.
“We had a hard time competing in a six-team tournament,” pointed out Coach Taylor, who was extremely optimistic of his team’s chances prior to the tourney.
But after four games his squad fanned 31 times (including 13 times looking), compared to seven walks.
“This is not the level (of performance) we should have been,” Taylor said. “I felt like our defense and batting did not live up to its potential.
“I spoke with the team and they took it hard, but the majority of parents understand why we aren’t going and agreed with the decision.”
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On Thursday, the hosts dented the scoreboard in their initial at-bats as Bonilla reached on a fielder’s choice.
He advanced to second base on a Bryson Mistretta wild pitch. As he stole third base, catcher Colson Mullis’ relay skipped past the bag allowing Bonilla to easily score, 1-0.
San Antonio, which stranded runners at the corners in the first frame, countered with two unearned runs in the second.
Mason Hutsell’s RBI bunt single plated Cody Dawson while two Brooksville miscues permitted Desso Marrero to circle the bases, 2-1.
Brooksville’s starting pitcher, Stevie Taylor, worked the first two innings yielding three hits and both unearned runs. He did not issue a walk and fanned one.
San Antonio’s starting shortstop Dawson Roberts crushed a 0-1 offering off Weigl to lead off the third, 3-1.
Roberts’ blast would be the only hit and lone run etched off Weigl in two innings of relief. Weigl retired the other six batters he faced in order.
Bonilla, who scored a game-high three runs, launched his second home run of the tourney – a two-run blast over the 200-foot deep left-field fence – to tie the game in the bottom of the third inning, 3-3.
An inning later, the hosts regained the lead as Maner reached on his second hit, a single to right, before advancing to second and third on consecutive passed balls.
With one out against San Ann’s second hurler, Roberts, Bryson Derryberry’s flare behind second base was snared, but Maner alertly raced home.
The hosts padded the cushion with three runs in the fifth. Nick Talpa and Bonilla opened the frame with back-to-back singles.
A Roberts’ wild pitch pushed both runners into scoring position. Another ball to the backstop permitted Talpa to race home.
With one out, Landon Carter bounced an RBI single to left-center plating Bonilla. On the next pitch, Austin Miller slugged an RBI double to left-center scoring Carter, 7-3.
In his second inning of relief, Austin Miller surrendered three runs in the sixth. With no outs, Sidney Larkin lashed an RBI single up the middle before Cody Dawson parachuted a two-run single to right-center.
As San Antonio’s Brock McKendree fouled out behind the plate, Dawson had strayed too far from second base. Bonilla, the catcher, zipped a perfect relay peg to second catching Dawson napping to complete the game-ending double play.
From the home dugout, Coach Taylor thought the game’s ending was too close for comfort.
“I’m glad we pulled it out,” admitted the relieved Coach Taylor. “But we allowed San Ann to get back in the game.”
On the biggest lessons learned, “We need to worry about what we need to do and not everybody else,” noted Taylor.
“Yeah, I felt the pressure when San Ann closed to within 7-6,” described the 11-year-old Weigl, who earned the mound victory. “This win was pretty big because it could have meant us going to states or not. I felt pretty good out there today.”
On Bonilla’s blast, “That homer almost hit a car out there,” said Weigl. “It was his (team-leading) second of the tournament.”
Maner admitted afterward, “Coach thought we could have done better,” said the 11year-old. “Today, we should have knocked in more runs, but we tried.”
On finishing third, “We all wanted first (place),” said Maner. “I’m kind of mad about not going to states.”
Like Weigl, Maner admired Bonilla’s bomb, saying, “It was pretty sweet. It drove in a couple key runs for us.”
“I was just trying to get a hit,” detailed the 12-year-old Bonilla. “I’m pretty mad right now; I really wanted to go to states.
“I agree with coach we had to hit better to finish higher,” he added. “Our bats never really woke up.”
To that end, of Brooksville’s 12 All-Stars only the younger Taylor did not strikeout once.
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In Game 1, Brooksville snapped a scoreless deadlock with five runs in the fifth inning to edge Wesley Chapel. In the uprising, Weigl and Derryberry cracked two-run doubles.
Of Brooksville’s five hits, Talpa paced the hosts with two safeties, including an RBI single.
On the hill, the first of Brooksville’s three hurlers, Bonilla, opened the game with three scoreless innings. He permitted one hit and walked a pair against seven strikeouts.
Miller (1-0) followed on the bump working two-plus innings. In all, Miller yielded three walks, three hits and two runs against three punch outs.
Stevie Taylor survived one hit – a two-run homer – to earn the save.
En route to its second win, South Lake out hit Brooksville, 9-2.
Down 3-0 in the top of the fifth, Bonilla reached on a double and promptly scored on Carter’s RBI double.
Derryberry (0-1) went the first four innings for the hosts. Derryberry yielded three runs on seven hits and three walks. Maner pitched a scoreless fifth inning allowing two hits while striking out one.
On Wednesday Bushnell, which led 3-0 after the first inning, belted two homers.
Bonilla (0-1) went the distance allowing nine runs on nine hits, plus three walks across five innings. Despite surrendering two homers, the hard-tossing Bonilla fanned a tourney-high 12 batters.
Offensively, Weigl’s RBI single plated Hunter Stapleton for Brooksville’s first run in the third inning.
Trailing 9-1, Bonilla crushed a two-run homer in the top of the sixth to close the books.
Dixie Baseball AAA Majors (ages 11-12) District 6 Tourney Recap
at Brooksville’s Ernie Wever Youth Park
South Lake 13, San Antonio 3
Brooksville 5, Wesley Chapel 4
Bushnell 43, Ridge Manor 0 (3 Innings)
Bushnell – bye
Ridge Manor – bye
San Antonio 11, Wesley Chapel 10 (7)
South Lake 3, Brooksville 1
Brooksville – bye
San Antonio 17, Ridge Manor 0 (3)
South Lake 11, Bushnell 10
Bushnell 9, Brooksville 3
South Lake 17, San Antonio 1 (4)
Bushnell 5, South Lake 1
Brooksville 7, San Antonio 6
Bushnell 10, South Lake 0 (5)
2014 District 6 AAA Majors (ages 11-12) Standings
at Brooksville’s Ernie Wever Youth Park
PL TEAM W L .PCT RS RA
1. Bushnell* 4 1 .800 78 14
1. South Lake* 4 2 .667 45 30
3. Brooksville* 2 2 .500 16 22
4. San Antonio 2 3 .400 38 47
5.(tie) Wesley Chapel 0 2 .000 14 16
5.(tie) Ridge Manor 0 2 .000 00 60
TOTALS 12 12 .500
* Denotes qualified for July 19 AAA Majors State Tournament at Freeport.