Georgia Feeling Peachy
Southeast champs grab No. 1 seed from Pool A with an 8-1 win over
By Mark Rogoff
Southeast champs from Warner Robins, Ga. received a special message
prior to their win-and-you’re-in game against the New England region
champs from Walpole, Mass. That message came in the form of an
e-mail from a recent Georgia Little League Basbeall World Series
Kyle Carter, who last year led his Columbus, Ga. squad to the Little
League Baseball World Series title, sent his heart-felt well wishes,
which Warner Robins manager Mickey Lay relayed to his club before
the start of the critical game.
The message from Carter may just have helped as Warner Robins posted
an 8-1 win over Walpole in front of 2,500 fans at Volunteer Stadium
Georgia joins Lake Oswego, Ore. as the teams advancing out of Pool A
and into the semi-final round. Georgia takes the No. 1 seed because
of their 9-4 win in a head-to-head matchup with Oregon.
Regardless of seed, Georgia can now say they’re one of the four-best
Little League teams in the United States.
“You don’t really realize that,” said Payton Purvis, who capped the
scoring with a two-run single in the fourth. “It will settle in when
the whole tournament is over.”
“I just knew we had to win today,” added Lay. “We just play one game
at a time. We just go where they tell us to go.”
In a game that was suspended Tuesday night with Georgia leading 2-0
in the top of the second inning and resumed Wednesday morning, the
Georgia squad got everything it needed from Dalton Carriker.
The 5-foot-6, 128-pounder came on to pitch once play got going
again, and quickly struck out Kyle Donnelly to end the inning.
Carriker went on to toss four-and-a-third innings of one-run ball.
“I really think the tone was set when he came in and pitched and got
that one out in the top of the second,” Lay said.
Carriker then put the game out of reach when he came to bat in the
bottom of the inning, driving the first pitch he saw from Walpole
pitcher John Adams over the wall in right for an opposite-field
three-run homer that made it 5-0.
“It’s a great feeling knowing no one is catching that one,” he said.
“It’s just really cool.”
Georgia jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first Tuesday night, taking
advantage of Samuel Falkson’s lead-off walk to Zane Conlon. Carriker
followed the free pass with a double to the left-centerfield gap.
Micah Wells then brought both runners home with a single through the
Massachusetts had its best chance to get back in it in the third,
although it could muster only a single run on five hard-hit balls.
Michael Rando lined one right back to Carriker for the first out.
Patrick Hayes, Jr. then roped a double to center. Timothy Sullivan
followed with a deep fly to left that was caught by Hunt Smith,
whose throw to third was not in time to get the tagging Hayes. Hayes
scored a wild pitch shortly before Matthew Bender laced a double to
centerfield. Adams then sent a rocket back to Carriker, who somehow
managed to stab it and run it to first on his own for the final out.
“Dalton is a very gifted athletically,” Lay said. “He’s just a very
good fundamental ballplayer who can excite the team. He gives
everything he has.”
Walpole finishes their run at the World Series with a 1-2 record.
“Georgia played a great game,” said manager Brian Oberacker. “We’re
proud of the kids for making it this far. We just told them not to
hang your heads.”
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