PORTLAND, Ore. — The bat bags weren’t even completely zipped shut and Warner Robins was still puffing a little from the exertion of a fourth straight victory Monday when things started to get out of control.
The media staff at the Little League Softball World Series quickly shepherded the Pool B champions to a table behind Alpenrose Dairy’s main stadium for some interviews ... with ESPN broadcasters.
That’s pretty much how it’s going to be for the next 48 hours for the WRALL girls. They finished their sweep of pool play with a 13-0, four-inning victory over Asia-Pacific champion Guam to win the pool.
That puts them on television in today’s second semifinal. They will face Pool A runner-up Greensburg, Pa., the East representative, at 9:30 p.m. on ESPN2.
All during the playoffs, the team’s chant has been “Do something crazy.” This could be it. Warner Robbins has to head to the stadium early today for ESPN photographs. Then there’s a picnic for the 10 teams.
Manager Emily Whaley would like to work a practice in there somewhere.
“Yeah, it does already feel like it’s getting out of control,” she said after 45 minutes of interviews with the ESPN broadcasters, followed by a quick team meeting. “That’s OK, though. It certainly beats the alternative, which is not to be there at all.”
Warner Robins had already clinched No. 1 in the pool when it took the main stadium field Monday. Guam had been hammered by everybody else in the pool — twice by the 10-run mercy rule and once 9-2 by Milan, Italy.
Guam hadn’t scored a run since the first game of the tournament last Thursday.
So it figured to be a short day for Warner Robins, and it was. Sabrina Doucette, Carson Carriker and Caitlin 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.
Whaley used three pitchers in the four innings, Sydney Barker went an inning, Kaylee Albritton pitched the second, and Doucette came in from the outfield to throw the final two.
Guam didn’t get a hit and got a runner to third base only once. The only blemishes on the defensive effort were two walks and one error.
Whaley moved players around at will. She started two normal substitutes and before it was over, had regular third baseman Kelly Warner catching and pitcher Albritton at third base.
“We wanted to move some people around,” Whaley said. “We wanted to give Sabrina a chance to pitch.”
Everybody had a chance to rock Guam starter Celeene Mendiola. Carriker was 3-for-4 with a pair of runs batted in and the team’s only extra-base hit, a fourth-inning double.
Parker had two hits and scored twice. Hannah Livingston and Carriker drove in two runs each.
The players picked up on their new environment immediately. After the ESPN interviews and before Whaley had a chance to talk to them, they rehearsed a dance they’ll do at Tuesday’s picnic.
“We’re all pretty used to it by now,” said Carriker, who has played every pitch at shortstop for Warner Robins. “Our games have been on the Internet and a lot of people keep up with us that way.
“(Monday)? We just wanted to be aggressive on the bases and with the bats.”
Whaley almost immediately was trying the turn the tension down.
“I just want to get them home to their host families,” she said. “I want them to rest and chill a little.”