El Campo 9U All-Stars finished as the Texas District 18 Little League runner-up, falling to Sweeny 7-4 in West Columbia on Wednesday night.

El Campo made it to the championship game with a thrilling come-from-behind win the night before beating Sweeny 11-10 in the double-elimination tournament.

Sweeny already having beaten El Campo (8-6) earlier in district play, came out smoking with a 4-1 lead with starting pitcher Chancely Clifton, driving in two of those runs off a single to center field.

Things slowed down at the plate for Sweeny because El Campo’s Bryce Irby pitched the next 3.1 innings without giving up a run before hitting the pitch count.

El Campo had a big inning in the top of the third with four hits, taking the lead by plating four runs. With Banker Kulak at the plate a passed ball gave the Ricebirds a 5-4 lead.

The two teams continued to trade scores until El Campo erupted with four runs to take an 11-7 lead in the bottom of the seventh. The Ricebirds registered just one infield hit as walks and passed balls hurt Sweeny.

El Campo in the top of the eighth inning had to hold off a furious rally by Sweeny as they came close to tying the game.

Bulldogs fought back as leadoff Hunter Fox reached on an error. A single by Dustin Hickman brought in Fox to make it 11-8.

Clifton once again produced this time with his hard shot bringing home another run. Hunt drove in the final run for the Bulldogs with a shot to right field.

With the bases loaded after a walk to Nolan McCray, El Campo’s Blackburn who took over for Irby on the hill struck out the final Sweeny batter moving them to the championship game.

El Campo in District 18 play beat Boling 15-7 and West Columbia 11-2. However, the two losses to Sweeny ended their season.

District 18 action will continue next week with El Campo playing in three different softball divisions. Softball 10U will start Friday with games in Palacios. 12U action kicks off next Saturday in East Bernard, El Campo has a first-round bye and will play the winner Van Vleck and Tidehaven. Juniors softball will be a two-team tournament against East Bernard next Sunday in El Campo.

10U baseball will play in the area tournament Thursday in East Bernard. 11U will play in a two-team tournament against Sweeny in El Campo starting on June 24. The Majors will play in Palacios next Thursday.

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