Youth baseball: South Fort Myers holds off Cape Coral American to win District 9 Juniors title

Donovan Duvall leaps into the pile as the South Fort Myers Junior League All-Stars celebrate winning the District 9 championship on July 12, 2012 at Buckingham Community Park in Fort Myers. South edged Cape Coral American, 7-5. Kevin Johnson/Staff

Photo by KEVIN JOHNSON // Buy this photo

Donovan Duvall leaps into the pile as the South Fort Myers Junior League All-Stars celebrate winning the District 9 championship on July 12, 2012 at Buckingham Community Park in Fort Myers. South edged Cape Coral American, 7-5. Kevin Johnson/Staff

FORT MYERS — The South Fort Myers Junior League All-Stars piled on the runs early, and then piled on closer Cole Connor after the final out.

South erupted in celebration near the mound at Buckingham Community Park after capturing the District 9 championship with a 7-5 win against a gritty Cape Coral American squad on Thursday night.

South advances to the Section 6 tournament July 21-22 in Venice.

After two straight rainouts, South showed no signs of rust by scoring three runs in the top of the first inning and opening a 6-1 lead through three and half. But that cushion might have been too cozy as Cape clawed its way back.

"This was the first game we actually played a little flat. We didn't match the intensity level of Cape for a few innings," said South manager Pete Saez, who noted that pitching, defense and timely hitting have been the keys to the team's 6-0 record.

South's Jacob Wetter (two hits, one RBI) and Donovan Duvall each blasted run-scoring doubles into the right-center gap, and Ben Podgorski drove in two runs before Cape battled back.

Needing a win to force a winner-take-all game, Cape scored three runs in the fourth thanks in part to a two-run single from Tyler Mitchell, who had two hits.

After an 18-minute lightning delay, Dillon Lewis closed the gap to 6-5 with an RBI single in the fifth.

Cape threatened again in the sixth, but reliever Gus Cunningham registered a strikeout to end the inning with two runners in scoring position.

Jack Mora drilled South's ninth hit of the game with an opposite-field RBI single that gave South an insurance run in the seventh.

Starter Micheal Ursitti kept the ball low in the strike zone and forced several groundouts. He scattered five hits in four innings to notch the victory for South, whose pitching depth likely will be tested at sectionals with three games in two days.

"I think we can win.," Cunningham said. "We have a bunch of good pitchers which will really help in that round-robin tournament."

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