Game 3: Southeast 11 vs. Midwest 3

Warner Robins Scores Late To Secure Win

Author: Zach Swartz

Source: South Williamsport, Pa.

Date/Time: Friday, August 21, 2009, 5:00pm ET

 The score was 5-3 heading into the sixth inning of game 3 of the Little League World Series Friday. But at the end, it was an 11-3 victory for Warner Robins American Little League (Ga.) over the Iowa representative from Urbandale.

Taking that two-run lead into the final inning, the Southeast champions were looking for some insurance runs—but they weren’t necessarily looking to score six.

“That’s what we talked about in the dugout,” Warner Robins manager Randy Jones said. “I said give me one, maybe two runs. I said I could work with one because they were within three or four of us and if we could tack on a few I felt we would be okay. But that’s a little more than I asked for.”

After a ground out to lead off the final frame, the Southeast Region champions put a half a dozen on the board, thanks to two singles, two doubles, an error and a pair of home runs.

Warner Robins had been living off the long ball for most of the game. Leadoff hitter Justin Jones, who hit the first pitch of the game to left center field for a double, gave his team a 2-0 lead in the third when he stroked a ball just over the right center field fence.

Three innings later, he would hit his second as part of the sixth inning hit show.

“I hadn’t done that (hit two home runs in a game) this whole all-star season, so it’s pretty cool,” Jones said. “He threw it right down Sesame Street, as the people on the team like to call it.”

Left fielder Spencer Sato had the other home run in the frame, and outfielder Trey Maddox added one of his own in the fourth.

Urbandale, the Midwest regional champion, scored three runs without an RBI. Its first two runs scored in the first inning on a wild pitch and throwing error. The third run was a result of another wild pitch in the fourth inning.

Urbandale hits came off the bat of starting pitcher Trae Cropp, catcher Cole Scieszinski and first baseman Jake Quirk.
It was enough to keep the game close, but in the end Warner Robins’ power proved to be the difference.

“I thought we did a pretty good job of staying in the game, knowing we were there, down 5-3 late in the game,” Urbandale manager Scott Grau said. “We were in a position late to steal a game we thought we had no business being in, to be honest. Again, give (Warner Robins) credit - they changed all that quickly in the top of the sixth inning.”

The Warner Robins team, which came into the World Series 18-0 in postseason play, is playing through a lot of expectations. The league’s softball counterparts recently won the Little League Softball World Series. The winner of the 2007 Little League World Series was also a team from Warner Robins.

“To sit back and watch the girls go all the way to the World Series and we sit around for days - we’re making friends and it’s a lot of fun,” Jones said. “But I was so eager to get this first one out of the way. It was about to drive me crazy.”

Warner Robins (1-0) will take on Mid-Atlantic regional champion South Shore National Little League (N.Y.) (1-0) Saturday at 3 p.m. as the two Pool A winners on the first day meet. Urbandale (0-1) faces Northwest regional champion Mercer Island Little League (Wash.) (0-1) at noon on Sunday.