WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- Only one U.S. league has had two teams win the Little League World Series in its 65-year history.
Teams from Long Beach, Calif., won the title in 1992 and 1993. Warner Robins American Little League will try to become the second.
To do that, the team representing the Southeast will have to go through some stiff competition, both from the U.S. as well as internationally.
Warner Robins will play its first game at 8 p.m. on Thursday against Lafayette, La., representing the Southwest.
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“It is very hard to get here,” said Adam Thompson, assistant director of the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum.
Museum memorabilia includes pieces from the Warner Robins team that won the Little League World Series in 2007.
Thompson is changing one of the displays to include an engraved bat from those World Series winners as well as the jersey from Dalton Carriker, who hit the game-winning home run in 2007.
In another case is a signed jersey from the 2010 Little League Softball World Series champions, who -- like their 2009 counterparts -- are also from Warner Robins.
For a team to go to the World Series once is a major achievement. For multiple Southeast champions to come from the same league, Thompson said, is a feat not many regions have matched.
“It’s pretty impressive to do,” he said.
The team from Warner Robins is looking to do just that.
Down on the practice field, which is an impressive walk down the hill from The Grove dormitories where the teams stay, the Southeast’s players, wearing their red Georgia uniforms and sporting new batting helmets of blue and black, were loose and laughing.
Catcher Ryan Thompson, who is waiting on clearance from doctors to play after a freak accident Monday injured his toe, said he is wearing three of his teammates’ necklaces since they can’t wear them while they are practicing.
Even Southeast manager Phillip Johnson seems to be more at ease in Williamsport.
“He took my spot in the golf cart,” Johnson said, ribbing the smiling Thompson.
Perhaps the most intense person on the field wasn’t a player but coach Buddy Deal.
After hitting a few grounders into the tall grass, Deal told his players to rush the ball.
“Get them low, get them in,” he said to the outfielders.
The coaches, along with the players, are getting antsy.
“It feels like it’s been two weeks (since the team arrived in Williamsport),” said Johnson.
His players just want to start playing some baseball.
The Southeast team already has been the one to beat in the dormitories, winning at corn hole and any other game it plays, said Deal.
Thompson, however, said the Japanese team, has been the best at ping pong.
He throws his arms around trying to demonstrate the Japanese players’ quickness with the rackets.
“They’re ready to play (baseball),” Johnson said of his players.
After another ball dies in the outfield, Deal stops hitting and comes to the mound to give another admonishment.
“You gotta stay down in the grass,” he said with his Marine voice kicking in.
“Ooorah?” Deal said.
“Ooorah,” said the boys.
To contact writer Angela Woolen, call 923-5650.