Georgia team falls short of Little League World Series

awoolen@macon.comAugust 10, 2012 

WARNER ROBINS -- The road to the Little League World Series for Georgia ended with a passed ball.

Tennessee pulled out a 1-0 victory over Georgia on Friday in the Little League Baseball Southeastern Regional Tournament championship game and will represent the Southeast in the World Series.

Tennessee’s Cole Carter reached on a single in the bottom of the second inning and was replaced by pinch-runner Blake Osborne, who scored the lone run on a wild pitch by Leyton Pinckney.

Tennessee Manager Joey Hale said he got a little light-headed after the win.

“I almost fainted,” he said.

On the other side, the Warner Robins players were emotional after the loss. With tears pouring out of their eyes, the 13 boys made the slow climb up the stands to the waiting arms of their parents.

Georgia Manager Martin Pinckney couldn’t keep his frustrations in after the game, commenting on how a few calls from the umpires could have changed the game.

“There’s not much you can say,” Martin Pinckney said.

Georgia’s defense made some spectacular plays, including Chase Padgett saving a couple of fly balls from going over the fence, jumping up to make a grab on one and knocking one down.

Reggie Ling made a play in left field to get a crucial third out, but the offense of Georgia could not get past Tennessee’s pitcher Brock Myers. Myers had nine strikeouts, and Jake Rucker added one when he came in relief.

The same Georgia offense that scored 76 runs in the state tournament had one hit and reached base on four walks and an error. Hale said he knew the game would come down to just a few key plays.

“We were lucky to get that one run,” he said.

Myers threw 85 pitches and reached his pitch count limit, but through five innings, he had a no-hitter. Rucker came in relief for the save and allowed the only hit of the game for Georgia when Kody Winner singled.

The next play would be the deal-breaker for Georgia as catcher Connor Bookout bunted. The ball was caught by Rucker, and Winner was doubled-up at first base. Rucker then ended the game with a strikeout.

This is the first Tennessee team since 1987 to earn a berth to the Williamsport, Pa., home of the Little League World Series.

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