Game 32
Southeast
3 vs. Japan 2

Saturday, August 26, 2007
3:30PM ET


Georgia’s Warner Robins Little League Wins Little League Baseball World Series
By Allie Weinberger
Special Correspondent


WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (Aug. 26, 2007) – Dalton Carriker slugged a walk-off solo home run to right field to give Warner Robins (Ga.) Little League a dramatic 3-2 victory today in the 2007 Little League Baseball World Series Championship Game at Howard J. Lamade Stadium.

“I was looking for a fastball and he threw me a curveball and I just kept my weight back and took it to right field,” Carriker said of his game-winner against Tokyo (Japan) Kitasuna Little League. “Right off the bat I knew it was pretty much outta here, but it was a very nice hit for me.

“I thought, ‘I just hit a walk off home run to win the Little League World Series. I almost fainted right there.”

As the 2-1 pitch from Junsho Kiuchi flew over the right field wall, Carriker – forgoing the slow jog for an all-out sprint – threw his arms out wide as he circled the bases.

As a crowd of 31,400 in and around Lamade Stadium watched, the state of Georgia celebrated its second World Series title in as many years – and its third overall.

The celebration turned to consolation, too, as the Georgia boys met the Japanese champs with hugs.

“They don’t disrespect, they’re very disciplined and they are some of the nicest kids you’ll ever meet in your life,” Georgia’s Kendall Scott said. “Just seeing them fall down and cry, you just couldn’t let them do that – you gotta pick them up.”

It was Warner Robins hurler Keaton Allen, who hadn’t taken the hill since the Georgia state tournament more than a month ago, who got the nod to start Sunday’s game, but after two innings that saw Japan score twice on four hits, manager Mickey Lay turned the game over to relief pitcher Kendall Scott.

“The second pitcher’s breaking ball was very nice,” Japan’s manager, Youichi Kubo, said through an interpreter. “The up and down was much wider than we expected.”

“Kendall came in and threw lights out,” said Georgia’s Taylor Lay. “That was probably the best game I’ve ever seen him throw.”

Kendall, who entered Sunday’s game with a 1-1 record, pitched 5.2 innings of one-hit ball, striking out 10.

“The curveball was working great for me today,” Kendall said. “When I tried to throw it harder, it just broke sharper and way before the plate. And they just kept swinging so I kept throwing it.”

Kendall, who entered Sunday’s game with a 1-1 record, pitched 5.2 innings of one-hit ball, striking out 10.

The scoring got started in the top of the first, when Japan’s Yuri Yasuda dropped a triple onto the right field warning track to bring Masaya Ogino home from second for an early 1-0 lead.

The Tokyo Kitasuna Little Leaguers came out swinging again in the second, loading the bases for their potent offense with just one out. Allen, facing the top of the order, made quick work of Kanta Hiraide for out No. 2, but he wouldn’t get out of the inning untouched – literally.

The next batter, Masaya Ogino, smacked starter Keaton Allen’s offering off the pitcher’s leg and toward the infield dirt. Ogino was safe at first, the bases were still loaded and the scored was 2-0.

But the Japanese champs would strand all three, after a sliding grab in centerfield by David Umphreyville, Jr., stole what would have been an RBI single for Ryo Kanekuso.

“That was a big, big play,” said Lay.

With two outs and runners on the corners in the bottom of the second, Allen stepped to the plate representing the go-ahead run. One swing later, a big two-run double bounced off the wall in straightaway centerfield, knotting the score at 2-2.

“We knew it was gonna be a close game,” said Lay. “I knew once we tied it up that it was gonna come down to whoever had the last bat, so thank goodness we won the toss last night (to be the home team).”

That was particularly important, seeing that the Japanese All-Stars had won both their International semi-final and International championship games with walk-off shots of their own.

“If we can get more running in the first and second,” said Kubo, “the game is going to be different.”

And so the score remained knotted through the top of the eighth, when Scott hit the pitch-limit of 85, and passed the ball off to teammate Zane Conlon – although with reservations.

“Zane didn’t warm up,” said Scott.

“Honestly, Zane, you scared me,” he added as he turned to look at his teammate in the post-game press conference. “But after every pitch I tried to go out there and just give him some confidence that he can do this. He’s one of the best pitchers in the whole world and he can do this.”

And he did. Zane Conlon got the only out – a strikeout of Kazutaka Kato – Georgia would need. When the Southeast All-Stars stepped to the plate in their half of the eighth, Carriker launched the game-winner.

“My adrenaline was about to go crazy, my legs were about to fall off,” Carriker said. “I really felt like I was flying – like Peter Pan. I was just touching the bases and going for my boys.”
 


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