WARNER ROBINS -- One thing was certain heading into Tuesday’s Little League Baseball District 5 championship game. Warner Robins was going to send another team to the state tournament.
The back-and-forth battle between Warner Robins American Little League’s two teams resulted in a 10-5 victory for Warner Robins East over Warner Robins West.
East pitcher Jake Fromm struck out 10 batters through 4-2/3 innings before being replaced on the mound by Trey Odom.
Coach Buddy Deal said taking Fromm out was a risky move. But the East coaching staff felt Fromm was getting a little tired as he hit a few batters and gave up hits he normally doesn’t.
“Right now, it looks like a genius thing to do,” Deal said.
The East scored the first runs of the game in the second inning. Logan Williams hit a single to drive home Jordan Hampton and Austin Burnette.
The West, however, kept things interesting. Backed by Kody Winner’s pitching and a couple of strong fielding plays by Landon Duernberger, the West kept the East from scoring in the third inning before mounting a rally in the fourth.
A three-run homer by Landon Carlson and an RBI by Duernberger gave the West a 4-2 lead in the fourth.
East manager Phillip Johnson told his team not to give up, and the team responded in its half of the fourth with a five-run rally of its own.
“It was the bottom of the order again that brought us back up,” Johnson said.
West manager Randy Dempsey said the mistakes cost his team. All five of the runs scored in that rally came with two out.
“Against a team like that, you’re going to get behind,” he said.
In the fifth, Drake Bone walked in a run and Fromm had a two-RBI single for the East.
Dillon Strickland had a solo homer in the sixth for the West.
Dempsey said his players were disappointed in the loss but had done everything he asked them to do.
“We fought and didn’t give up,” he said.
The East heads for the state tournament in Cartersville, with the first game scheduled for 4 p.m. on July 23.