WARNER ROBINS — Warner Robins rebounded from Thursday’s extra-inning loss with a 6-1 victory over Madison County in the championship game Friday of the 11-12 age group of the Little League softball state tournament at the Flint Energies Sports Complex.
Warner Robins earned its first state championship since 2002 and will represent Georgia in the Southeastern Regional in Ceredo-Kenova, W. Va., starting Thursday.
Sydney Barker pitched a complete game two-hitter for Warner Robins. She and the rest of the hometown crowd of about 200 experienced a few nervous moments as Madison County loaded the bases in its final at-bat, but Barker fielded a ground ball for the final out.
Warner Robins broke a scoreless tie in the top of the fourth inning when Sabrina Doucette’s two-out single plated Hannah Livingston. The Blues then added four runs in the fifth. Caitlyn Parker scored on a wild pitch. Her slide caught Madison pitcher Cheyenne Pridgen in the leg and forced her from the circle. Later, Chelsea Whaley delivered a bases-loaded double off the Madison reliever, scoring three runs.
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“Our pitching depth won the tournament,” Warner Robins manager Emily Whaley said.
Facing a must-win situation Thursday, Madison County was forced to use its ace who was then, by rule, unavailable for the final. Warner Robins got nine strong innings from Kaylee Albritton on Thursday and was then able to come back with Barker in the title game.
“We still had two or three girls in the dugout that could have pitched if we needed them,” Whaley said.
In the 9-10 division Thursday, Amber Coy pitched a one-hitter and struck out 12 hitters as WRALL beat Hart County 13-0 to claim its second consecutive minor league championship.
Coy pitched in each of Warner Robins three tournament wins. She pitched no-hitters in the other two games and allowed just one run in the tournament.
The 10-year-old said she felt little pressure throughout the tournament, despite just beginning to play softball a year ago.
“I just kind of toned it out,” she said. “I’d step off the rubber when I needed to.”
Batting first, Warner Robins scored eight runs in the first two innings to take control against Hart County. Coy didn’t allow a baserunner until she walked a player with one out in the third.
Northern of Columbus claimed the title in the 10-11 division Thursday with a 14-1 win over Warner Robins.
The game was tight at 4-1 until Northern scored a pair of runs with two outs in the fifth inning. Northern then scored eight in the sixth to pull away.
“That team has been together for three years,” Warner Robins manager Steve Stout said. “They have a lot of continuity. Our girls have been together for only four weeks, but they came together well.”