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North 10U Babe Ruth wins district crown

June 28, 2017
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , North Fort Myers Neighbor

Who would have thought that when the 10U Babe Ruth District tournament was suspended due to lightning on June 11, it would take more than a week to finish it?

For North Fort Myers, it was time well spent as the team came from behind in its last at-bat for a wild 15-13 victory over Clewiston last Tuesday at North Fort Myers Community Park.

North held an 11-10 lead in the top of the fifth when the game was suspended, but promptly fell behind as Clewiston scored three in the fifth to take the lead as North pitchers, though fresh, couldn't find the plate.

Article Photos

The North Fort Myers 10U baseball All-Star team. Top row, from left, coaches Mickey Zambuto, Cole Cooke and Nate Sund. Middle row: Donovan Davis, Davin Hickman, Kris Ralston, Christian Weber, Trenton Curliss. Bottom row: Boone Stewart, Landon Estes, Christopher Zambuto, Hunter Garrison and Hayden Sund.


It made for a nervous time as North saw its season on the brink.

"I was nervous because we had opportunities to end that fifth inning, but couldn't," said player Christopher Zambuto.

The same was true for Clewiston as North reclaimed the lead for good. Chris Ralston came on for North and had no such trouble, striking out the side in the sixth to close it out.

"I told the kids not to worry about it. It's part of baseball. We get to hit last and I told them to be patient, play our game and let the game come to us," said 10U coach Nate Sund. "Chris came in and it was awesome. We took it once pitch at a time."

"I felt good. I had my teammates to back me up so I knew I would be fine," said Ralston, who didn't really need them. "I was kind of nervous when we fell behind."

For both teams, having to wait nine days to finish a game was nerve wracking.

"I wanted to get the game over with since we had to wait so long," Ralston said. "It was worth the wait."

The 10U squad advances to Oviedo, near Orlando, to play in the state championship after the July 4 holiday, facing teams that have been through this experience already.

"It's going to be tough because there are teams in the Ocala area who have been there before. I still think we can go up there and win," Zambuto said.

The winner there goes to regionals, then nationals.

For the U12 team, it wasn't such a happy ending. After crushing Sanibel 19-3 the previous night, North finally met its match against Clewiston, losing 10-0 in a game that ended in the fifth inning by the mercy rule.

The game was interrupted by a 40-minute lightning delay, which had a detrimental effect on North, especially pitcher Ethan Estes, who had trouble finding the plate after the delay.

"He came back a little bit cold. The wet ball got his pitches up a bit and he couldn't get back in rhythm," said Chris Wendel 12U coach. "Their pitcher was on fire and we couldn't catch up with him."



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