PUNTA GORDA — Adam Krivisky's reaction best summed up South Fort Myers Little League's exit from the 11-12-year-old District 9 Little League tournament.
After a hard line drive out to lead off the sixth, Krivisky put up his hands and shook his head as he walked back to the dugout.
It was that kind of a frustrating afternoon for South.
Several bullets fired, but little blood.
"We hit the ball hard, but right at them. We didn't get the good breaks," South manager Mark Lamers said after his team was knocked out with a 9-2 loss against Cape Coral National in the losers' bracket final on a sweltering Sunday at South County Regional Park.
Cape turned a 5-3-2 double play in the second with catcher Mike Faulkner tagging out D.J. Judge.
"We're aggressive on the bases, but our defense has always kept us in the games," said Cape manager Tom Hobaugh.
Cape, which features many players from last year's state champion 10-11-year-old team, advanced to the district finals needing two wins against Fort Myers American.
Just how tough did it get for South on Saturday.
Consider Marcus Clark, who clobbered a two-run home run to left that tied the game in the third, needed to have his braces pried loose from his lip by an umpire before the sixth inning.
Aside from Clark (2-for-2), South failed to sink their teeth into righty Sean McClintock, who threw a complete game five-hitter with two strikeouts and no walks.
"Sean pitched an awesome game. It was do or die, and he came out to play today," said Hobaugh.
With a 6-2 lead in the fifth, McClintock worked out of a bases-loaded jam by striking out Judge, who had reached on an error and a double in his first two at-bats.
An RBI single by Alex Santana (2-for-3) off starter Stephen Johnson gave Cape a 1-0 lead in the first, an inning South hurt itself twice by throwing the ball away.
"They capitalized on our laziness or sleepiness or nervousness, or whatever it was," said Lamers.
Johnson rebounded by retiring Cape in the second on just three pitches.
But in the third, Tanner Williams (2-for-4, 3 RBI) crushed a two-out solo homer to make it 2-0.
South responded in the bottom of the inning when Randy Gerlach reached on an error and came home when Clark powered the ball high over the center field fence.
"He's been working on his swing. He hit the ball hard twice today. The two-run jack lifted us up," said Lamers.
The tie didn't last long.
Matt Ciancimino led off the fourth with a double as Cape loaded the bases with no outs. Kameron Gellinger scored on a wild pitch to make it 3-2 and Brett Hobaugh drilled a two-run double down the left field line to give Cape a three-run cushion.
Cape added one run in the fifth and tacked on three more in the sixth against reliever Danny Brown on an RBI single by Williams and a two-run base hit by Gellinger.
Hobaugh and Gellinger led Cape's 11-hit attack with two singles and a double each.
South dug itself a hole early in bracket action by losing to Fort Myers American, 4-2, on July 11. South stayed alive with wins against Buckingham (14-1) and DeSoto (11-7).
Brown and Tommy Lamers were standouts on the mound and at the plate in the win against Buckingham. Each fanned three batters and allowed two hits in three innings apiece. Brown notched a solo home run, double, two RBI and scored three runs while Lamers belted a two-run homer.
Other offensive stars for South included James Whittle, who went 3-for-3 with two RBI and two runs, and Judge, whose two-run homer was accompanied by a single and double.
In Saturday's win against DeSoto, Brown smashed a grand slam, the first of his career.
After struggling early, South eventually hit their stride at the plate.
"From day one, I definitely saw improvement," said manager Lamers. "They started playing together as a unit a lot better towards the end. They were hitting a lot better the last couple games. It took us awhile to get our bats going and I think that's what threw us down into the losers' bracket."