WARNER ROBINS — After enduring an almost two hour weather delay, Warner Robins American Little League East defeated WRALL West in the District 5 baseball championship Thursday night, 20-8.
WRALL East earned a berth in the state tournament, which begins July 24 in Columbus.
Jake Fromm hits two home runs for WRALL East, and Drew Martens added one. Kyler Kipa had a double, a single, three RBIs and scored three runs.
“We’re not done yet,” said manager Andy Gentry.
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The matchup wasn’t so much a house divided as a family duplex. A victim of its own success, WRALL grew large enough this season that Little League rules required two all-star teams.
“It’s unfortunate, because the kids all came up together and played together,” said Jimmy Dunn, vice president of baseball for WRALL.
“But it all comes with the territory of growing. And it shows you how much talent this league really has.”
The three-time defending state champion, the league has also won two of the past three Southeastern Region tournaments, including last season.
WRALL East will move forward with the whole league behind it, said Brenda Henderson while watching her son Blake warm up for the West on Thursday evening.
“It’s harder than you think,” Henderson said. “Some of their best friends are on the other team. These are kids that come over to the house.
On Monday, West defeated East in the double elimination tournament. East played its way back and beat the West 4-3 on Wednesday. Henderson said some of the players hugged their friends on the other team after each loss.
“It’s tough. It’s so much easier to beat somebody you don’t know.”
There were a significant number of the hundreds in attendance Thursday cheering for both teams — and not just the expected fold-your-arms-and-lean-on-the-fence baseball guys. They didn’t choose Thursday, and they won’t have to going forward.
To contact Ryan Gilchrest, call 256-9725.