The first ever Manatee County Cup Little League tournament is under way at G.T. Bray Park and Braden River, with the Island’s Majors squad scoring a huge upset last week in its opening game.
Organized by Little League District 26, the tournament consists of teams from Bradenton, Palmetto, East Manatee and Anna Maria Island. It is a chance for teams to face opposition they wouldn’t ordinarily play and is open to teams and players at the Minor, Major and Junior levels. Each team is guaranteed three games, with the top two teams in each pool of teams advancing to a knockout round.
The Islanders Majors team took their 3-17 record into a game against Manatee East champions Gatorade, with their 17-3 record, and pulled off a stunning upset.
Justin Gargett pitched all 6 innings and what a display he put on. In a consistent light drizzle, Gargett used his fastball and slow curve/changeup to keep the Gatorade batters off balance all night. With good focus and a seemingly tireless arm, Gargett has been a powerhouse all season and was on his game this night.
Limited to only 85 pitches per game by the rules, Gargett walked a batter with two outs and only two pitches left on his pitch count and his team in front 3-1 in the bottom of the sixth and final inning. Under the rules, a pitcher is allowed to finish out the at bat with a new batter even if he exceeds his pitch count. Gargett, who worked hard all game, had the desire and strength to face the last batter and strike him out, giving him 14 strikeouts in the game while allowing only one hit.
Max Moneuse led the Islanders with two hits, while Johnny Mattay, Max Miller and Hunter Parrish each contributed singles.
The Islanders next face Cooney’s Auto Repair in a game on Wednesday, May 28, at 8 p.m. at G.T. Bray Field #3.