SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — Without a pitcher who had taken the mound in a postseason game, the Southeast couldn’t overcome a powerful offense by the Mid-Atlantic Tuesday at the Little League World Series.
The dream ended for the 14 Middle Georgia boys who fought back time and again for their chance at the Little League World Series title.
The Mid-Atlantic’s offense was just too strong as it pulled out a 7-5 win.
In the top of the first, leadoff batter Logan Arnett singled, and he moved to second on a wild pitch. With two outs, Austin Burnette singled to third, moving Arnett to third. Catcher Josh Goodman tripled to score Arnett and Burnette, and Jordan Hampton brought home the third run of the inning with a single to score Goodman.
But the Mid-Atlantic responded with six runs in the bottom of the first and never looked back.
Hampton started on the mound for the Southeast, but Logan Williams replaced him with two outs in the inning.
“We just couldn’t get an out,” Southeast manager Phillip Johnson said.
Johnson said Hampton had looked the best during practice Tuesday afternoon, but with more than 30,000 at the game, the atmosphere was difficult to overcome. The first inning took nearly 45 minutes.
The Southeast’s pitching staff settled down after the first and allowed only one more run, but the offense couldn’t come all the way back. Jake Fromm hit a shot onto the hill at Lamade Stadium for a two-run home run to bring the Southeast to within two runs, but the Mid-Atlantic held on for the win.
Arnett, who batted a .600 in this tournament, was 3-for-4 with two runs. Burnette was 2-for-3 and Hampton was 2-for-2 with an RBI. Goodman had two RBI.
Fromm made several spectacular defensive plays at shortstop, including one on which he had to sacrifice his body and got up a little sore.
Johnson joked to his player that they were going to watch the ESPN highlights after the game. And Johnson said he is proud of the job his team has done.
“Who would’ve thought we’d be here,” Johnson said.
He admitted not having any of his top four pitchers available for Tuesday’s game hurt the team. He said he didn’t know if he had the team to win the Georgia state tournament, much less make it through the regional and to the World Series.
“It’s been a crazy ride,” he said.