ENGLEWOOD — Before the South Fort Myers Junior All-Stars left town, they left something else: stranded runners.
"We left 12 or 13 guys on base. We just couldn't come through with timely hits," said South manager Bill Fiorillo, whose team fell to Manatee East, 6-4, on Saturday at Wellfield in Venice.
South finished the Section 6 tournament with a 1-1 record.
Manatee East advanced to the state tournament by going 3-0.
"That was basically our championship game," said Fiorillo.
Trailing by two in the seventh, South put runners in scoring position with no outs, but failed to score.
"Nothing to take away from Manatee. They're a good team. We just didn't get the clutch hits," said Fiorillo.
Casey Gibson and Brendan Collins handled pitching duties for South.
"Both teams had good defense and pitching," said Fiorillo, whose District 9 champions led 1-0, but fell behind 3-1 and never caught up against the champs from District 26.
South was scheduled to conclude the tournament against District 18 champion Golden Gate National late Saturday in Englewood, but umpires didn't show and the game was canceled.
Confusion seemed to reign throughout the weather-plagued junior and senior tournaments as games, times and locations shifted almost hourly.
"I think it was the worst tournament I've ever been associated with as far as the way Venice Little League ran things," said Fiorillo.
South opened the tournament on a much brighter note by defeating Venice, 8-3, at Englewood Sports Complex on Friday night.
Gibson staked South to an early lead with a two-run double.
Venice answered with one run each in the third and fourth to tie before Jim Shannon, who came on in relief of starter Nick LeVally, got Andrew Ellingsen on a pop-up to end the inning. South shortstop Jimmy Correnti made a tough catch going into shallow left.
Shannon allowed no hits, struck out four and walked five in three and one-third innings.
"We consider him a good reliever and he did exactly what we wanted him to do. He came in and threw strikes. He did a really good job," said Fiorillo.
South regained the lead for good in the sixth when Gibson looped a single to right that scored Collins, who led off with a double.
South scored three more runs in the inning — including a sacrifice fly by Shannon — to take a 6-2 lead.
South added two more runs in the seventh on a mile-high pop-up by Jake Kistel which was dropped in the infield, a miscue that allowed Wes Fiorillo and LeVally to score.