The 13-year-old Babe Ruth District 2 tournament couldn’t have started much better for Mike Peacock’s Augusta team. Not that the coach was ready to consider his bunch assured of any district championships or the state tournament berths that come with them.

“I wouldn’t put it that way,” he said. “We still have to win some ball games.”

Not anymore. Peacock’s Augusta team is one of several eyeing state tournament play as district competitions heat up and approach their conclusions, and his squad punched its tickets there Friday with a 7-3 win over Apple Valley, moving on to the championship round and guaranteeing themselves a spot in the 13-year-old state tournament. Apple Valley, meanwhile, which opened its district run with a 16-0 win over Coastal West, slipped to the loser’s bracket and will play Central Maine, which beat Coastal West, for the chance to play Augusta for the title.

“We got timely hitting and we had some good pitching today,” said Peacock, whose team got a complete game from Kaleb Stred. “I think when we started this a couple of weeks ago, they thought they were good enough to get there. But they proved it to themselves.”

Augusta and Apple Valley are also pursuing state tournament spots in the 14-year-old and 13-15 categories in District 2. The two teams faced each other Friday in the 14-year-old bracket, with the winner playing top seed Midcoast today at 9 a.m., while in the 13-15 division, Apple Valley opened with a 9-4 win over Coastal West. Augusta, meanwhile, opened its district run with a 4-1 loss to Midcoast, dropped to the losers’ bracket and will play Coastal West today at 2:15.

“I’m confident. We have pretty good pitching,” said Augusta coach Taylor Lockhart, whose team is led on the mound by Nick Howard, Alec Byron, Dom Denico and Jacob Brown. “It’s definitely an uphill battle, but I’m confident in what I have.”

In District 3, Franklin County’s 13-year-old team opens today with a pair of games against Auburn and Tri-County, while the district championship game is Sunday at 3 p.m. Franklin County opened the 13-15 bracket with a game against Tri-County Friday night, and will play next in either the losers’ bracket (at 5 p.m.) or winners’ bracket (at 2 p.m.) this afternoon. Tri-County already took first place in the 14-year-old category.

Whether or not a team comes from the losers’ bracket and beats Augusta for the 13-year-old title, Peacock’s team will make a state tournament appearance with spots reserved for district champions and runners-up.

“That’s huge,” said Peacock, whose team opened with a 12-2 win over Central Maine. “I told them all to cancel their plans for next weekend. … I don’t like talking out of turn, but I think with the team that I have, we have an excellent shot.”

Augusta’s next game will be a rematch with either Central Maine or Apple Valley, which has been led at the plate by Hunter Hayes, Jayden Ruel and Blain Shaw and on the mound by Wyatt Lambert and Nick Florek.

In the 13-15-year-old tournament, Apple Valley has been led offensively by Allen Peabody (who had a single, double and triple and three RBI in the Coastal West win) and Hunter Glows, and on the mound by Peabody and Tanner Burgess.

The 13-year-old state tournament begins Wednesday in Auburn, the 14-year-old tournament starts Thursday at McGuire Field in Augusta and the 13-15 tournament will begin Thursday at Augusta’s Morton Field.

Drew Bonifant — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @dbonifantMTM

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