ATLANTA -- Two powerhouse 11- to 12-year-old Little League programs battled in the state championship Friday, but the Warner Robins All-Star team prevailed 10-4 against Columbus-Northern.
For the second straight year, Warner Robins American Little League will send a team to the Little League Baseball Southeastern Regional Tournament.
Friday’s game was scoreless for two innings with the high-powered offenses held in check by pitchers Leyton Pinckney for Warner Robins and Wagner Davidson for Columbus.
With former Little League World Series players from both sides watching, Warner Robins fans got another chance to have a local team to cheer for in the regional.
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Manager Martin Pinckney said he knew the game would be a tough one.
“It was a hard-fought win,” he said.
Warner Robins started the scoring in the top of the third with an RBI each by Bryce Morgan, Conner Bookout and Tee Adams.
Reggie Ling, who hit a home run in the semifinal game, hit a three-run home run to make it 6-0.
Columbus answered with one in the next inning on an RBI double by Caleb Podger.
Chase Padgett, who turned 13 on July 27, then hit a solo home run to end Warner Robins’ scoring.
During the same inning, Davidson hit Pinckney in the back with a pitch. Pinckney took exception, and there was a brief timeout while tempers flared.
Columbus scored two in the bottom of the fourth after Pinckney approached the 85-pitch limit, and Tyler Mayfield came on in relief but was hit in the leg by a throw home as Warner Robins tried to get a runner at the plate.
Adams struck out two in the bottom of the fifth but gave up a run, making it 7-4. In the top of the sixth, Adams put the game away with a three-run homer, making it 10-4.
“I was just trying to make contact,” Adams said of his homer.
A double-play ended the game for Columbus and as the gloves were thrown in the air, parents rushed the fields hugging their children.
With no child playing on the team, one coach was calmer than most.
“They’ve earned everything,” coach Randy Dempsey said.