Little League World Series notes: Columbus Northern players find motivation in history

Steals signs, lets teammates know what pitch to expect

chwilliams@ledger-enquirer.comAugust 26, 2010 

Watch highlights of Northern’s 2006 championship game victory

By CHUCK WILLIAMS

chwilliams@ledger- enquirer.com

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — The group was small at first.

Shortstop Brandon Pugh, second baseman Jack Tanner, pitcher Troy Gilliland, outfielder Jack Copley, outfielder Knox Carter and pitcher Jacob Pate were looking at the television set Wednesday afternoon inside the Little League Museum.

The highlights from the 2006 championship game were playing.

More and more players on this year’s Columbus Northern team that is two wins from playing for the world championship huddled around the TV.

Standing in the back was Northern manager Randy Morris. Like the kids in front of him, Morris, too, was focused on the action.

One of the plays was Northern pitcher Kyle Carter running through Morris’ stop sign at third and getting thrown out at the plate.

The players took notice. Then came the big hit.

Shortly after footage of catcher Cody Walker’s home run that gave the 2006 team a 2-1 lead over Japan on the way to the world championship, Morris spoke.

“Move on, that’s all the highlights we got,” he said.

The kids just sat there and watched the end as Morris walked away to another part of the museum that sits just above Lamade Stadium, where he coached the 2006 team to the title.

On an off day as Northern prepares to play Hawaii tonight at 7 in the Little League World Series, the team walked through the history.

It was cool, third baseman Kobie Buglioli said.

“I loved watching the other World Series title games,” he said. “I watched the Georgia teams — Columbus in 2006 and Warner Robins in 2007.”

Perfect motivation, Buglioli said.

“You see what can happen if you reach your ultimate goal,” he said.

Big brother

Amanda Pate, 9, followed her big brother Jacob around Wednesday afternoon.

“What she likes most about me right now is she gets to miss school,” Jacob said of his sister, who is a fourth- grader at Midland Academy.

Amanda, a softball player in her own right, said Jacob is a pretty good big brother.

“But, sometimes, he aggravates me,” she said.

Their mother, Tracy Pate, said her children are close.

“He’s very protective of her and an excellent role model,” she said.

Jacob, a pitcher, catcher and first baseman for Northern, works with Amanda on her softball game.

“He is always telling her how to hold the bat,” their mother said.

Little reporters

During a tour of the Little League Museum, Northern catcher Blake Hicks was the camera man for WRBL and injured pitcher Zac Cravens was doing the interviews.

“It’s pretty exciting,” Hicks said.

Cravens kept botching the standup in front of the Little League sign.

More than once, he signed off from “Williamsport, Georgia.”

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