Scoring five unanswered runs in the fourth inning, the Continental Little League 10- and 11-year-old All-Stars won Saturday afternoon's meeting with West Flagstaff Little League, 9-4, to finish first in the Area 1 tournament.
The game, played on Dawson Field at Continental Park, however, was played under protest on the grounds that Continental did not meet the minimum playing requirements, with a player not receiving an at-bat.
Caleb Clifton led off the bottom of the fourth inning with a double before scoring on an error to give Continental the 5-4 lead. Tyler Ragan brought home another run with an infield single, Ryker Patton brought in another with a two-out single and two runs scored on wild pitches during the inning.
Ragan closed out West Flagstaff with two scoreless innings to end the game after the visitors lead midway through the game.
Camden Hagerman broke a 2-2 tie in the second inning by scoring on a wild pitch and Luke Hewes connected on a two-out RBI to give West Flagstaff a 4-2 lead.
Connor Culwell slowed West Flagstaff's offense in the ensuing innings, striking out the side in the top of the third before rolling to a four-pitch fourth inning as his offense fought back.
After Kole Flores led off with a single and reached third on an error, Ragan trimmed the lead to 4-3 with a sacrifice fly. Culwell then helped his own cause by stealing home on a double steal to end the third with a 4-4 tie.
Each side scored two runs apiece in their respective first innings, with Noah Huffmon doubling in a run before coming around to score on a wild pitch. Ragan answered back with a two-out home run and Ryker Patton evened the score with a double.
Beating Payson in four innings, Continental set up a Monday night meeting with West Flagstaff for the top spot in the Area 1 tournament.
Playing at Mark Grace Field, Continental shutout Payson behind the arms of Cooper Derr and Adrien Marquez. Each threw two scoreless innings in the run-rule shortened 10-0 victory.
With runs in each innings, Continental started the scoring with one in the first thanks to a sacrifice fly from Marquez. Derr connected on a two-run home run in the second inning followed by a solo shot from Conner Stickler.
Another run crossed home plate in the third when Quinn Mickelson singled in Marquez. Mickelson added a three-run homer in the fourth to highlight the five-run inning before Continental closed out the win in the bottom of the inning. Marquez, Mickelson and Connor Calahan all finished the game with two hits apiece.