WARNER ROBINS - Georgia (Columbus Northern) defeated Florida (Melbourne Viera Suntree) 9-2 in the Little League Baseball Southeastern Region Tournament championship game on Friday at Little League Southeast Park
Georgia advanced to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa. Columbus Northern won the World Series title in 2006. It is the fourth time in five years a team from Georgia has represented the Southeastern (formerly Southern) Region in the World Series (Warner Robins American went to the World Series in 2007 and '09).
Jacob Pate pitched all but the final out for Georgia, holding a Florida team whose trademark throughout the tournament has been power to just three hits - though two of those were solo home runs.
Georgia's trademark, on the other hand, has been big offensive innings playing from behind. While it didn't have to play from behind on Friday, it did score three runs in the fifth inning and four in the sixth to break the game wide open.
The crowd was about 5,000. The grandstands hold about 2,500 and were close to capacity. About 500 people were standing in the area behind the grandstands, and about 2,000 covered much the outfield hill. The largest crowd before Friday at Little League Southeast Park was for the softball regional championship game on Aug. 2, estimated at between 4,000 and 4,500. That game featured Warner Robins American, representing Georgia, defeating Florida (New Tampa Little League).
For more on this game, come back to Macon.com or pick up Saturday's Telegraph.
TOP 1: Michael Pineda is pitching for Florida. In the top of the first for Georgia, Blake Hicks and Jacob Pate walked to open the inning. Brandon Pugh struck out. Knox Carter walked to load the bases. Kobie Buglioli struck out. Troy Gilliland walked to score Hicks for a 1-0 lead. Cason Sizemore struck out.
BOT 1: Pate is pitching for Georgia. In the bottom of the first for Florida, Jimmy Cawley struck out. Jackson Prater grounded out to first base. Vincent Benvenuto grounded out to the pitcher to end the inning.
TOP 2: Pineda pitching. For Georgia, Jack Tanner lined out to right field. Jalen Latta singled to left field. Hicks struck out. Pate struck out.
BOT 2: Pate pitching. Sebastian Samuels walked to lead off for Florida. Anthony Castagnaro struck out. Bryson Wallace bunted Samuels to third and was thrown out at first. Pineda struck out.
TOP 3: Pineda pitching. Pugh struck out to lead off for Georgia. Carter doubled to right-center field. Buglioli struck out. Gilliland struck out.
BOT 3: Pate pitching. For Florida, Hayden Kingston grounded out to second base. Dylan Owens grounded out to the pitcher. Cawley was thrown out by Pate attempting to bunt.
TOP 4: Pineda pitching. For Georgia, Matthew Lang singled to right field and moved to second on a wild pitch. Jack Copley struck out. Latta grounded out to second base. Hicks hit a bloop single just beyond the outstretched glove of the second baseman to score Lang for a 2-0 lead. Pate struck out. Pineda's pitch count stands at 88, so he will be replaced for the next inning due to the pitch count rules.
BOT 4: Pate pitching (33 pitches to start inning, 50 at end of inning). Prater hit the first pitch over the right field fence to cut the lead to 2-1. The home run was the first hit given up by Pate in the game. Benvenuto struck out. Samuels struck out. Ian Swan struck out to end the inning.
TOP 5: Prater pitching (0 pitches to start inning, pulled after 10 pitches). Pugh singled to right field to open the inning for Georgia and moved to second on a wild pitch. Carter walked. Samuels came on to pitch, replacing Prater. Runners moved to second and third on a wild pitch. Buglioli doubled to right-center, scoring both runners to put Georgia up 4-1. Gilliland grounded out to second base, moving Buglioli to third with one out. Lang struck out. Buglioli came home on a wild pitch for a 5-1 lead. Tanner struck out.
BOT 5: Pate pitching (50 pitches to start inning, 71 at end of inning). Chris McLoughlin was thrown out by Pate on a bunt attempt. Pineda hit a home run to right field to cut the lead to 5-2. Christian Smallwood grounded out to second base. Owens singled to shallow center field. Cawley walked. Prater grounded out to second base to end the inning.
TOP 6: Samuels pitching. Latta walked to lead off for Georgia. Hicks walked. Swan came in to pitch, replacing Samuels. Pate singled to center to score Latta for a 6-2 lead, then moved to second on the throw home. Lang came on to run for Pate. Hicks scored on a wild pitch for a 7-2 lead. Pugh struck out. Carter doubled to left-center field, scoring Lang for an 8-2 lead. Buglioli doubled to the same spot, driving in Carter for a 9-2 lead. Smallwood came on to pitch, replacing Swan. Gilliland struck out. Sizemore grounded out to second base for the third out.
BOT 6: Pate pitching (71 pitches to start inning). Benvenuto struck out. Samuels walked. Swan struck out. With 86 pitches, Pate is forced to come off the mound due to pitch count rules. Buglioli came on to pitch. Wallace struck out looking to end the game.
Georgia 100 134 - 9 9 0
Florida 000 110 - 2 3 0
WP: Pate. LP: Prater.