While Tropical Storm Debby has dominated the discussion lately, it couldn't stop Spring Hill's Junior Boys (age 13) All-Stars from capturing the best-of-three District 6 Tournament
Spring Hill dominated Sumter at San Antonio Athletic Complex, 18-0 on Saturday and 17-1 on Monday.
Despite the series sweep, both District 6 champion Spring Hill and runner-up Sumter will advance to the Florida State Championship starting July 14 at Sebring's Max Long Complex.
Spring Hill skipper Shawn Laferty earned his third District 6 title – second in a row following last year's AAA Majors crown – albeit without much of a fight.
"We kind of overmatched them (Sumter)," explained Laferty. "We dominated and we showed class in doing it. Everyone got in and everyone worked to ready for states.
"States will be a different deal," predicted Laferty, whose 2011 AAA Majors team captured the state championship in Lakeland. "Before this tournament, we've always had to battle to get out. My biggest question going into states hasn't been answered yet. I don't think going into states that we're battle-tested yet. We've got a few weeks to get battle-tested."
Laferty was asked about the biggest positives from San Antonio.
"(Stephen) Bienstock is a move-in from Louisiana. He's our leadoff guy," said Laferty. "He's got some game. It's a big plus to have a guy like that to set the table."
On the team's pitching, "We were dominant. I just told our guys to throw strikes and let's work on some stuff – and we did," said Laferty. "This tournament served as a dress rehearsal for the bigger picture."
In Saturday's opening game in East Pasco County, Spring Hill right-handers Trevor Vendrone and Zachary Peek combined on a mercy rule-shortened four-inning no-hitter.
Vendrone hurled the first three frames recording seven strikeouts without issuing a walk. Peek, a move-in from Virginia, twirled the final frame notching two strikeouts.
Offensively, Laferty's club cracked 11 hits including three homers.
Luke Laferty led the squad with two homers – featuring a two-run shot and a solo blast. Noah Siem also belted a homer as he and Laferty smacked back-to-back taters in the fourth over the 275-foot fences.
Both Siem and Laferty finished 2-for-2. Bienstock and Joe Harris each went 2-for-3.
In Monday's 4½ -inning, mercy rule-shortened game second-round tilt, Sumter scored first against Spring Hill's ace – Siem.
The lead, however, was short-lived. The West Hernando County crew responded with three runs in the first followed by a knockout via a seven-run second inning.
All told, Spring Hill rapped 12 hits led by Siem's 3-for-3 effort. Siem finished the tourney 5-for-5.
Luke Laferty went 2-for-3 with a double to finish 4-for-5 overall.
Bienstock's 2-for-3 effort featured two doubles. He concluded the tourney 4-for-6. Zach Lawrence chipped in a 1-for-3 evening highlighted by a solo homer.
On the hill, Siem (1-0) earned the victory working two innings. He issued two free passes and fanned five.
Robert Bunyon worked the scoreless third and fourth innings. Bunyon surrendered Sumter's only hit and two walks against four strikeouts.
Luke Laferty faced three batters and fanned two in a scoreless fifth.
Dixie Juniors Boys (age 13) District 6 Tournament Recap
at the San Antonio Athletic Complex
Spring Hill 18, Sumter 0 (4 Inns.)
Spring Hill 17, Sumter 1 (4½ Inns.)
NOTE: Both Spring Hill and Sumter will advance to the Florida State Championship starting July 14 in Sebring.