WARNER ROBINS -- Georgia battled throughout but came up short in a 4-2 loss to North Carolina at the Little League Baseball Southeastern Regional Tournament on Saturday.
Both teams had dropped one-run decisions in their opening games, making Saturday a must-win for each team to stay alive for a chance at a spot in the semifinals. At 0-2, Georgia is mathematically eliminated from advancing.
I told them to keep their heads up, Georgia manager Randy Morris said. This is Little League baseball. I tried to tell them to not make anymore of it or any less. Theyre going to face way bigger things in their life than this. Theyre down now, but five minutes from now, you wont know if they won or lost.
Georgia had several good opportunities in the late innings to mount a comeback that were spoiled by stellar defensive plays from North Carolina.
Trailing just a run in the fifth with a runner on first and nobody out, Georgias Austin Hicks ripped a ball up the middle that was snared by North Carolina second baseman Alexander Donald, who flipped to shortstop Patrick Alvarez to start a 4-6-3 double play.
Alvarez robbed Georgia again just a half-inning later on a tremendous diving catch to his right that kept the tying run from reaching base.
Their guys made some great plays, Morris said. We hit a shot up the middle, and their second basemen got it; the shortstop caught it with his bare hand, and they got the double play. You dont see many plays like that in Little League. These teams are good. If that ball is hit either way of five feet, were in business. Its just the way it is.
Georgia will finish pool play action against Florida at 4 p.m. on Monday and then will finish up with a consolation game before going home.
Were not ever gonna quit, Morris said. Ive never had a team that quit, and this team has never let me down. I told them that were going to play two more games, and were going to play as hard as we can to win. Were walking out of here winners no matter what.
In other action Saturday, Florida defeated South Carolina to move to 2-0 in Pool A. South Carolina will face North Carolina on Monday in a game for a spot in the semifinals. In Pool B, Virginia moved to 2-0 with a 6-5 win over West Virginia, and Tennessee beat Alabama 17-5 to even its record at 1-1 and drop Alabama to 0-2. West Virginia will also play Tennessee on Monday for a spot in the semifinals.