Citrus Park's bats had been relatively quiet throughout most of the Florida State Little League Tournament. They came alive when it counted most.
Citrus Park hit three home runs during an 11-run third inning en route to a 12-1, four-inning against Fort Myers to claim Florida's state title in the 11- and 12-year-old division.
"We've had different guys do it every day," Citrus Park coach Joe McGuire said. "Tonight everybody hit. This is what happens when everybody hits."
The victory sends Citrus Park to next weekend's Southern Regional in Gulfport as Florida's representative. The winner of that tournament heads to Williamsport, Pa., for the Little League World Series.
Back-to-back home runs by Michael McGuire and Wyatt Reid broke a 1-1 tie in the third inning.
"I knew it was out when I hit it," Reid said. "It felt good."
Danny Lastra's two-run double just inside first base extended Citrus Park's lead to 5-1 and chased Fort Myers starting pitcher Dominick Stefanacci.
Reliever Gunnar Joslin didn't fare any better. He loaded the bases for Kevin Merrell, who connected for a grand slam to center field.
Levi Gilcrease's three-run homer padded Citrus Park's lead to 12-1.
"Dominic and Gunnar were two of the top five pitchers in our league all year," Fort Myers coach Eric Joslin said. "We didn't run out of pitching, they just hit the ball."
Citrus Park reached the final with a 3-2 win against Coral Springs earlier Monday.
Bloomingdale Reaches Southern Regional Final
GULFPORT - Bree Schinella pitched a complete game one-hitter, and Sammie Selden scored the only run in the bottom of the sixth as Bloomingdale Little League moved into the Southern Regional major softball final with a 1-0 win against Franklin (N.C.) Little League.
Selden scored from third on a two-out infield single by Mackenzie Morrison.
Schinella struck out seven in six inning, and allowed only one walk.
JUNIOR BASEBALL: Palma Ceia Little League got a three-run homer from Nick Rich in the first inning, and kept on hitting as it won the state championship in Orlando, defeating Kendall Hammocks Little League of Miami, 13-5.
Rich added a double to his home run, and finished 3-for-4 with six RBIs. Pete Cordero also went 4-for-5 with two doubles.