VSLL reaches Southeast Region semifinals
The Viera Suntree Little League Junior All-Stars have had quite a run this summer, winning the Florida state championship and advancing to the Southeast Region semifinals.
Viera Voice courtesty of VSLL
The Viera/Suntree Little League Junior All-Star baseball team is now two victories away from a spot in the World Series.
The Florida state champions defeated Georgia 6-4 on Sunday to finish second in Pool B play and advance to today’s Southeast Region semifinals. The VSLL will face Virginia at noon for a chance to advance to the championship game.
Jackson Taylor, Michael Buccieri, Mason Behrens and Conner Sheer all came up big in key spots on Sunday for the VSLL, which finished 2-1 in its four-team bracket.
Virginia went undefeated in the three-team Pool A bracket. North Carolina, which went 3-0 in Pool B, will face Tennessee (1-1) in today’s other semifinal.
After defeating West Virginia 16-3 in the opening round, the VSLL suffered a setback on Saturday with a 9-2 loss to North Carolina. The game was tied 2-2 in the fifth before North Carolina pulled away with the help of some uncharacteristic errors by the VSLL.
Ken O’Neill, the VSLL Player Agent, said the team was “a little flat” in that game.
As disappointing as the loss was, the players were able to regroup following a team meeting and came out determined to get the job done on Sunday.
“They are still hungry for it,” O’Neill said on Saturday. “They know they just need to go out and play the kind of ball they know how to.”
Georgia would take a 2-0 lead, but Buccieri delivered a two-run single to tie the game.
The VSLL would then score four runs in the fifth inning as Andrew Brait reached base on an error and scored the go-ahead run on a double by Behrens. The bases then became loaded and Sheer hit a three-run double off the top of the fence to make it 6-2.
Taylor got the victory after coming on in relief of Sheer, who went 1 1/3 innings and Jordan Allen, who went 1 2/3 innings.
In the sixth inning, Georgia loaded the bases with no outs. However, Taylor induced an infield fly, then made a great play on a line drive up the middle, catching the ball and doubling off the runner at third base. That allowed the VSLL to escape the inning unscathed and the team went on to secure the win.
With two more victories, the VSLL would advance to the Junior League World Series in Taylor, Mich.
Be sure to check out vieravoice.com for further updates about the VSLL team’s tremendous playoff run.
Note: A story on the VSLL’s opening-round win against West Virginia incorrectly listed BJ Lanza with hitting a three-run double. While Lanza did go 4-for-4 at the plate in that game, it was Eric Adler who hit the three-run double.