WARNER ROBINS - Northern rallied to defeat North Carolina (Winston-Salem) 7-3 in seven innings in a Little League Baseball Southeastern Region Tournament pool play game Monday.
In the top of the first inning for Georgia, Blake Hicks singled and advanced to second on a bad throw. Jacob Pate, Brandon Pugh and Knox Carter all struck out.
In the bottom of the first for North Carolina, Josh Kent popped out to the center fielder. Andrew Kent grounded out. Logan Welch hit a home run to left field for a 1-0 lead. Laney Orr hit a home run to left-center field for a 2-0 lead. Robby Casey struck out to end the inning. For Georgia in the top of the second, Kobie Buglioli struck out. Troy Gilliland struck out - the fifth consecutive strikeout thrown by North Carolina pitcher Orr. Cason Sizemore grounded out to first base.
Ben Anstrom grounded out to the pitcher to lead off the bottom of the second for North Carolina. Bo Kenan struck out. Bobby Scanlon hit a deep fly ball to center field that was caught to end the inning.
In the top of the third inning, Jack Tanner walked to lead off for Northern (Georgia). Jalen Latta was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch. Hicks struck out. Pate struck out (Orr's seventh). Pugh popped out to center field.
For North Carolina in the bottom of the third, Jimbo Welsh was hit by a pitch. Josh Kent struck out. Sam Lentz chopped a grounder to second that was turned for a double play to end the inning.
Carter struck out to open the fourth for Georgia (Orr's eighth strikeout). Buglioli was hit by a pitch. Orr was pulled after 65 pitches, requiring three days rest and preserving the possibility that he could pitch in the championship game on Friday should North Carolina win in the semifinals on Wednesday. Kenan came on to pitch for North Carolina. Gilliland popped out to first base for the second out. Sizemore grounded out.
Welch grounded out to shortstop to open the bottom of the fourth for North Carolina. Orr singled up the middle. Casey hit a long fly ball to right field that was caught for the second out. Orr was thrown out trying to steal second to end the inning.
In the top of the fifth, Jack Copley grounded out to third base. Matthew Lang struck out. Hicks singled up the middle. Pate grounded out to the pitcher. Anstrom was hit by a pitch to lead off the bottom of the fifth for North Carolina. Kenan grounded into a double play. Mike McHugh hit a long fly ball to center field that was caught for the third out.
For Georgia in the top of the sixth, Pugh led off with a double. Carter hit a pop fly to center field for the first out. Buglioli struck out. Gilliland singled to right field to score Pugh and cut the lead to 2-1, then moved to second on the throw home. Gilliland advanced to third on a wild pitch. Sizemore singled to left field to drive in Gilliland and tie it up, 2-2. Sizemore moved to second on a wild pitch. Tanner grounded to third base for the third out. In the bottom of the sixth, Welsh, Josh Kent and Lentz all struck out.
Latta led off the seventh for Georgia with a fly ball to center field for the first out. Hicks hit a home run to center field for a 3-2 lead. Pate doubled to left field. Pugh walked. Carter was hit by a pitch. Buglioli hit a line drive that got under the left fielder's glove, clearing the bases for a 6-2 lead. Gilliland popped out to first base, but a throw to third to try and pick off Buglioli was errant, and he came home to make it 7-2. Sizemore blooped a single to right field. Tanner struck out for the third out.
For North Carolina in the bottom of the seventh, Welch stepped out of the back of the batter's box and was called out. Orr smashed a line-drive home run to right field to cut the lead to 7-3. Casey struck out. Anstrom struck out to end the game.
Northern will play West Virginia at 2 p.m. Wednesday in a semi-final game.
The game is the best attended of the baseball tournament so far, with the crowd exceeding 2,000