The season for the Dade City Senior Little League All-Stars came to a disappointing end Monday night at the Engelbert Complex with a 7-0 loss to defending state champion Greater Largo Little League.
Dade City had battled back to the championship game after losing to Largo 6-3 on Friday night in the first game of the tournament, but Monday's game wouldn't be as close. Largo used a dominating performance on the mound by right-hander Michael Delmonte, who scattered seven hits in a shutout performance.
At the plate, it was a balanced attack that worked for Largo. It scored two runs in the first inning off Dade City ace Blaine Duncan, and that's all it would need with Delmonte on the mound.
For Dade City, it was an abrupt end to a magical run. Only three weeks ago, they were in danger of having their season end in the losers bracket of the District 25 tournament. But they won three games in a row and then won sectionals two weeks later.
Despite the sudden ending, Dade City coach Geoff Wells was happy with run his team made.
"I'm proud of my team." Wells said. "Making it to the state finals is a great season. We lost to a very good team.
"They're the defending state champions for a reason. We can hold our heads high."
Dade City advanced to the championship by Rockledge Little League 8-3 on Sunday.
In the win over Rockledge, Dade City got a strong performance from starting pitcher Derrick Dious, who threw five shutout innings.
The game was scoreless going into the bottom of the fifth when Dade City busted through. Michale Flatley led off with a double, and a walk and single loaded the bases with no outs. Tyree Austin singled to make it 1-0 and Dious followed with a sacrifice fly to tack on another run.
After a Blake Roberts walk loaded the bases, Clint Tedder doubled to make the score 4-0. Dade City made it 5-0 when Duncan drew a bases loaded walk a few batters later.
Rockledge scored three times in the top of the sixth to close the lead to 5-3, but solid relief pitching from Devean Phillips shut down Rockledge over the final two innings.