The Warner Robins American Little League softball team’s magical run through this summer concluded Wednesday in Portland, Ore. Here’s a look back at how the team got there, starting with the championship games of the state tournament and the regional:
Warner Robins rebounded from an extra-inning loss in its previous game with a 6-1 victory over Madison County in the championship game at the Flint Energies Sports Complex.
Warner Robins earned its first state championship since 2002 to head to Ceredo-Kenova, W.Va., for the Southeastern Regional.
Once again, fate tapped a Carriker on the shoulder. And, once again, a Carriker delivered.
Seven years after big sister Kaitlyn helped put Warner Robins on the Little League map and two years after big brother Dalton cemented the town’s spot in youth sports lore, Carson Carriker delivered a tie-breaking, two-run triple in the fifth inning to lead Georgia past Florida 9-8 in the championship game of the Southeast Regional.
The first one was easy for Warner Robins as it took advantage of some early defensive problems by Anchorage, Alaska, for a 7-2 victory the World Series opener.
Sydney Barker and Kaylee Albritton combined to hold Anchorage to four hits, and Warner Robins roughed up two Anchorage pitchers for nine hits.
The pressure on Carriker couldn’t have been greater when she stepped out of the batter’s box with two strikes in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Warner Robins’ second game of the World Series against Central champion Croswell, Mich., was tied at 4, but Warner Robins had Sabrina Doucette on third base and only one out.
Carriker deliver as she lifted a deep fly ball to right field. When it hit the ground, third-base coach Roger Stella raised a triumphant fist and Doucette limped home on a tender hip for the winning run in Warner Robins’ 5-4 victory.
The Warner Robins express gathered speed in a hurry, and it barely slowed down in its third game.
Warner Robins got some stiff competition from the European winners from Milan, Italy, but won 4-1 to earn a spot in pool play.
The first two runs came on one two-out error in the first inning. Carriker drew a one-out walk, Caitlin Parker drew another one and Warner Robins had a rally going.
A fourth straight win at the World Series came in a 13-0, four-inning victory over Asia-Pacific champion Guam to win the pool.
It figured to be a short day for Warner Robins against an overmatched Guam team, and it was. Doucette, Carriker and Parker opened the game with singles and the rout was on. Eight runs in the top of the fourth put Warner Robins over the magic 10-run mark and ended the game.
It was the same story for the Warner Robins in the semifinals.
Warner Robins, as it has the entire tournament, got the early jump on its opponent. Like all four of its pool games, it cruised to victory in a 6-0 decision over Greensburg, Pa. But unlike the pool games, Warner Robins got the job done with power hitting, getting key hits from Avery Lamb and Barker.