Warner Robins softball team reaches World Series final

PORTLAND, ORE. — It was the same story for the Warner Robins Little League softball team Tuesday night in the World Series.

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.

Warner Robins will now face Crawford, Texas, in the title game at Alpenrose Stadium at 7 p.m., today. The game will be televised on ESPN2.

Carson Carriker was perched on second base with two outs, and it looked as if Greensburg starter Shelby Noel was going to get out of trouble.

But Avery Lamb, hitting from the left side, sliced a fading line drive to left field. Amber Reeping lunged for it, but missed by inches, and the ball rolled into the corner. Carriker cruised home and Lamb steamed in with a triple.

Then Sydney Barker pounded Noel’s next pitch down the left-field line, just inside the chalk for a run-scoring double.

The lead was huge, as Noel settled into a rhythm and punched out Warner Robins batters one after another. She retired 11 in a row until the fifth inning.

But Barker and her defense were up to it. The right-hander walked two batters in the first inning but struck out East catcher Julie Fiedor on a 3-2 count to end the threat.

Warner Robins catcher Chelsea Whaley got her team out of the second inning almost all by herself. She caught Reeping’s high foul popup, then East’s Kellie Hutchinson ripped a solid single to left for her team’s first hit.

But when Alexis Fearer popped a bunt up — just above her own head — Whaley snatched the ball out of the air and fired to first to double Hutchinson off.

Warner Robins’ 2-0 lead held until the fifth inning, when Ashley Killebrew came off the bench to deliver a critical run. She went the other way with a Noel fastball and singled to right, where right fielder Rachel Orner overran it. The ball rolled all the way to the fence and made it to third base.

Sierra Stella ran for her, and Kelly Warner grounded to the right side to drive the run in. Stella had no trouble sliding in under Fiedor’s tag.

Warner went to second on a wild pitch and came home on Carriker’s sharp two-out single up the middle. Warner Robins then added two more runs in the top of the sixth to seal the win.