SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — The Georgia Little League World Series manager Randy Morris is expecting a phone call from University of Georgia baseball coach David Perno today.
"He better call," Morris said after his team beat Ohio on Tuesday.
Baseball guys believe in superstitions. Perno has called Morris before each of the team's two World Series victories.
Don't worry, Randy, the call is coming today, too.
Northern faces Hawaii at 7 tonight for the Pool A championship. The game is on ESPN2. A Northern win, and the Columbus team is in the United States championship game Saturday afternoon. A Northern loss and the same two teams will play again Friday at 2 p.m. for the right to play for the U.S. title.
"I will, no doubt about it," Perno said this morning by phone from Athens.
Perno and Morris met in 2006 when Morris led that edition of Northern to the Little League World Series title. There is no bigger fan back home of the Morris-way of coaching kids than Perno.
"What Randy has done is incredible," Perno said. "These kids are not just learning the fundamentals of game, they are learning to play as a team."
Perno should know something about that. In his nine seasons coaching the Bulldogs, he has led Georgia to the College World Series three times.
The development of the players in Little League is vital to someone who coaches on the college level, Perno said.
"These kids are learning what it takes to win big games at a young age," Perno said.
He also offered high praise for the high school coaches in Columbus, especially Columbus High coach Bobby Howard. "In Columbus, they don't know anything other than winning and playing the game the right way," Perno said.
And he knows players off this Northern team will eventually end up on Georgia's recruiting radar. Kyle Carter and J.T. Phillips, both high school juniors who were key players in 2006, are now showing up on college recruiting lists.
"Look at that team five years ago and break it down," Perno said. "You had two kids on that team who are really good players. They will make an impact on the college level and probably the pro level."
Check back with Ledger-enquirer.com at 1 p.m. for a live chat with reporter Chuck Williams from Williamsport.