Source: South Williamsport, Pa.
Date/Time: Monday, August 22, 2011, 4:00pm ET
It took nine innings and nearly three hours, but the Southeast Little Leaguers ousted the Great Lakes representatives from the 2011 Little League Baseball World Series with an 8-5 victory Monday night.
Great Lakes took a first-inning lead when power hitter Griffin McLarty launched a two-run homer nearly 100 feet past the right field fence.
“McLarty is a special player,” said his manager Brad Bates. “He’s had an unbelievable tournament.”
But from there, the boys from Warner Robbins, Ga., took over.
In the top of the third, the Southeast sent 10 batters to the plate en route to a 5-2 lead. The Southeast Little Leaguers scattered hits all over the diamond, knocking out four singles and a double.
“We gotta keep hitting the ball better if we want to win,” said Southeast manager Phillip Johnson.
Despite the big inning, they waited six more before they scored another run. Meanwhile, the little leaguers from La Grange, Ky., mounted a comeback by slowly chipping away at their opponent’s lead, eventually tying the game in the bottom of the fifth, 5-5.
Travis Faith pitched over six innings of relief for the Great Lakes region champs. He did not allow a run until the top of the ninth, when Southeast plated three runs — two of them off a Jake Fromm homer.
“I don’t want one bad pitch to define Travis’s performance because it was outstanding,” Bates said. “In a tough spot with unbelievable amounts of pressure, he did a great job.”
Fromm, who had been battling a lower back strain, impressed from the mound, too. He pitched 4.1 innings of one-hit ball, striking out 10 and eventually securing the victory.
“I was definitely confident when we put in Jake Fromm,” Johnson said. “He threw harder today than he ever has.”
Bates lamented the loss, but said his team has no reason to do anything but hold their heads high.
“If nothing else, I want to be remembered as a team with class and dignity,” he said. “I couldn’t be more proud of these guys.”
The Southeast representatives continue their World Series run Tuesday night at 8 p.m., where they will play the winner of the Mid-Atlantic and Southwest matchup.