The North Fort Myers U12 Babe Ruth All-Star team was more than happy to hop on the back of star player Jacob Lewis.
Lewis, 12, struck out 13 and hit a three-run home run that proved to be the difference Sunday as North held off Naples 5-4 in the championship game of the District 15 Cal Ripken tournament at South County Regional Park in Punta Gorda.
"I'm proud of these guys. They fought hard, I thought we came into the tournament as the underdog with other leagues having more teams," said coach Tommy Dence. "They came out and showed a lot of heart."
Lewis' shot broke open a 1-1 game in the third inning and seemed to be cruising at 5-1 until the sixth when North committed two errors and allowed a double to cut the lead to 5-4 and the tying run on third before Lewis slammed the door.
"The heart rate was definitely getting up there and I was getting nervous and starting to scare myself," Lewis said. "But we did it and it's a big moment."
"He's a huge asset, but it's not just an individual. It took all 11 players to win this game. Pitching is huge, but it took all the bats to put the runs on the board," Dence said.
It was an exhausting weekend for Lewis, who threw a complete game victory, struck out 11, and hit another home run and drove in three in North's 10-1 opening-round win over Punta Gorda.
Trace Dunn had three hits, while Brock Balsley had two.
North followed on Saturday with a 9-3 win over Naples. Dunn went the distance for the win while clocking three hits.
Jake McGovern also had three hits, while Aaron Cole, Reece Holiday and Blasley had two hits in a 13-hit North attack.
Had Naples completed its comeback, it would have had to play again later Sunday.
Meanwhile, North's U10 team also was successful and did it in more dramatic fashion. It had to come from behind twice to defeat Cape Coral to advance to the championship against Naples, but it wasn't meant to be as Naples won easily.
North trailed 4-0 in its opener before scoring five runs in the fourth to take the lead, Grant Corkhill's two-run single being the big blow.
Cape forced extra innings, but Corkhill and Fitch drove home runs in the seventh and held off Cape 7-6.
After losing to Naples, North had to play Cape again and trailed 4-1, but crept back into it and won in the sixth on an error on a stolen base to reach the Sunday finals.
Despite the not-so-happy ending, coach Ray Mehl was proud of his team.
"We're happy with it. We had a great game against Cape, which is a great team, and we pulled it out. We did a great job. Today it was just out of our control," Mehl said.