Editor's Note: This game report was submitted by winning coach Rich Earley, coach of the Dunedin Mets, for their performance in the Greater Largo Little League 2012 AAA Spring Classic Baseball Invitational Tournament Championship from March 15-18.
The Invitational featured 29 teams from Largo, Clearwater, West Pinellas, Countryside, Holiday and Dunedin.
Dunedin entered six teams and all six teams was among the eight quarterfinalists. The Dunedin Mets won both their pool play games, and then in the playoff rounds went 4-0 to win the championship with a 6-0 record.
In the semifinal game the Dunedin Mets beat the Dunedin Rays 10-9 and then in the championship, the Mets beat the Dunedin Cubs 5-4 in a very exciting game.
The Dunedin Cubs threatened to take the lead with the score tied 4-4 at the top of the fourth. They put down a bunt with one out and runners on first and third. Mets' pitcher Landon Santa Maria charged the ball and bare-handed a throw to first baseman Jason Parasco. A Cubs runner on third attempted to score the go ahead run, but Parasco fired home to catcher Ricky Earley who put down the tag in the nick of time to complete a 1-3-2 double play.
In the bottom of the fourth with one out and nobody on, Earley roped a triple but was thrown out at the plate as he tried to score on an over-throw that took a true bounce back to Cubs third baseman Matthew Beam. Beam relayed a perfect throw to catcher Mitchell Mussler who applied the tag. After an excitement-filled fourth inning, the Mets came out victorious in the bottom of the fifth when, with the bases loaded and no outs, Isaac Karelekas drew a walk to win the game as the time limit expired.
"What a great showing by all of the Dunedin teams," said manager Rich Earley of the Mets. "Dunedin has one of the strongest Little League programs in the area year in and year out because of talented kids and some of the best coaching in the state. Getting six teams to the final eight is a testament to that."