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Saturday, Jun 23, 2018
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South Tampa Little League softball team advances

South Tampa coach Michael Valdes said he knew his team’s Little League Junior Softball World Series quarterfinal opponent, Columbus, Texas, was much better than its 2-2 pool-play record.

A runs allowed tiebreaker seeded Texas at No. 4 and a very capable opponent kept the game close early on Thursday.

But as has happened a number of times this postseason, South Tampa proved too much to hold back and the team comprised of 13- and 14-year-olds from Palma Ceia, Bayshore and Tampa Bay Little Leagues found success late and advanced to Friday’s semifinal with an 11-6 win.

South Tampa took control in the fourth inning behind a solo home run from Brandea Rafferty, then the offense really started to click in the fifth and seventh innings. Lindsay Phillips, Sammy Conlan and Kaylie Butts had RBI doubles during the win.

The lead in the fifth let Valdes remove starter Dana Rowley after four innings, saving his ace’s eligibility for later in the tournament.

South Tampa plays at 8 p.m. Friday in the semifinals against the winner of Thursday’s late Mexico/Canfield, Ohio, game.

In pool play, South Tampa defeated Ohio 17-2, but has not faced Mexico, the Latin American champion.

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