RICHMOND HILL -- The heat index was expected to top out at 100 degrees Thursday.
But the Warner Robins American Little League all-star team didn’t seem affected as they defeated Martinez-Evans Little League 11-3 to advance to Friday’s state championship game against Columbus Northern Little League.
On the scorcher of an afternoon, Warner Robins threw its heat in the form of Blake King, the starting pitcher, who went five innings and gave up only one run. Corbet Luna came in for relief in the sixth inning and gave up four walks and a two-run home run.
Coach Buddy Deal said when King gets frustrated on the mound, he tells him to “fluff his hair.”
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King’s hair sticks out the side of his baseball cap, and the youngest team member has been growing it out since the beginning of school last year.
He said he won’t cut it unless they lose, and so far, they haven’t. The team has been undefeated throughout the district and state tournaments. WRALL has outscored its opponents 55-7.
His father, manager Brad King, didn’t want to brag about his son’s success pitching, but the numbers don’t lie. Blake King recorded five strikeouts, allowing six hits and one walk.
The bats came alive for Warner Robins in the second inning with Tanner Rowburrey hitting a three-run homer, his second of the tournament. Later, Luna hit his first home run of the tournament, and Jacob Pierce hit a ball over the fence to add two more runs.
Columbus Northern Little League defeated Cartersville Little League in the earlier semifinal game 4-3.
“Columbus is always tough,” said Brad King.
He, along with his coaching staff, expect another tough game, probably lower scoring and close in the state finale.
The Georgia Little League Tournament championship game will be at 10 a.m. Friday. The winner will advance to the Little League Baseball Southeastern Regional Tournament, which starts Aug. 2 in Warner Robins.
Reporter Angela Woolen will be tweeting from Friday’s game. Follow her on Twitter@AngelaWoolen.