Northern Little League, the Georgia state champs, defeated West Virginia 9-3 Wednesday.
Northern, who scored seven runs in the bottom of the fifth inning, will play either Florida or North Carolina in the championship game on Friday at 8 p.m. That game will be broadcast on ESPN.
16th update: Pate strikes out Jacob Fisher to lead off the top of the sixth inning. Layhew goes down swinging for the second out. Jake Martin strikes out to end the game. Northern wins 9-3. Pate threw 24 pitches today.
15th update: Hicks homer ties the game at 3 in the bottom of the fifth inning. Pate walks on five pitches. One on, no outs. Pugh walks. Two on, no outs. Knox Carter at the plate for Northern. Wild pitch moves Pate and Pugh up a base. Runners on second and third with no outs and Carter at the plate. Pitching change for West Virginia, Joshua Landis for Ethan Stepp. Carter hits a sharp grounder to third. Pate heads home and third baseman throws the ball over the catchers head. Pate scores, Pugh moves to third. Carter safe at first. Buglioli singles to score Pugh. Carter at third, Buglioli moves to second. Northern up 5-3. Gilliland walks to load the bases for Cason Sizemore. Grounder to third, throw home hops. Everybody safe. Northern up 6-3 with bases loaded and one out. Tanner at the plate for Northern. Tanner flies out to second. Two outs. Hicks clears the bases with a 3-run double. Pate flies out to left. Northern up 9-3.
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14th update: The heart of the West Virginia line up. Jacob Pate on the mound for Northern. J. Stepp looking for the first out. E. Stepp swinging for the second out. Third out on bunt to second. Northern down 3-2 heading to the bottom of the fifth inning.
13th update: Pitcher Troy Gilliland's single to right started the bottom of the fourth for Northern. Gilliland moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Mathew Lang. Jack Tanner singled through the middle. First and third, 1 out. Pinch hitter Jack Copley grounded into a double play to end the inning.
12th update: Gilliland gave up a lead-off double to Luke Layhew in the top of the fourth. WV's Jake Martin struck out for the first out of the inning. One out, runner on second. Pinch hitter Cody Pittenger struck out looking for the second out. Two out, runner at second. Pinch hitter Jared Bumpus walked. Jordan grounds to short for the third out. Northern coming to the plate down 3-2.
11th update: Hicks leads off the bottom of the third for Northern with a walk. Jacob Pate followed fielders choice to second. One out, runner on first. Brandon Pugh sent a pitch back up the middle for a single. Runners on first and second with one out. Knox Carter struck out on a 3-2 fastball for the second out. Kobie Buglioli struck out to end the inning. WV up 3-2 heading to the plate in the top of the fourth inning.
10th update: Gilliland started the third inning with a first-batter out, a blooper to second by Ethan Stepp. Joshua Landis struck out for out No. 2. Jacob Fisher grounded to second base for the third out. Northern coming to the plate.
9th update:In the bottom of the second, Cason Sizemore started Northern with a swinging strike out. WV pitcher Ethan Stepp may have found his groove. Jack Tanner followed with a hopper to short, second out. Jalen Latta's soft liner to second ends the inning. WV up 3-2.
8th update: Troy Gilliland gave up a single to start the top of the 2nd inning. Gilliland struck out the next batter. Lane Casto followed the out with a bloop single to left. Runners on first and second with one out. A sacrifice bunt and two-out double later and Northern is down 3-2. Gilliland got the third with a grounder back to the mound. Northern down 3-2 heading to the plate in the bottom of the second.
7th update: Troy Gilliland hit a shot back to the pitcher for the third out. End of one inning, Northern up 2-1.
6th update: Northern started the bottom half of the first with a first-batter hit batsman. He advanced to second on a steal. The second batter lined out to short. The second out came on an attempted steal of third.
A 2-out a single kept the inning alive. The No. 4 batter was also hit. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch. Kobie Buglioli followed with a 2-out rocket to short that bounced off the fielder's glove, plating two runs.
5th update: After a 1-out homer, followed by a single, Northern pitcher Troy Gilliland shut down the West Virginia team in the top half of the first. Northern leads 1-0 heading to the plate.
4th update: A 1-out homer to center put the West Virginia team up 1-0.
3rd Update: The national anthem is over and the game is about to get started. The teams are in the dugouts and we're in a "TV" timeout. First of many, we're sure.
Hanson is playing the background.
2nd update: Columbus' Northern Little League has finished pre-game infield. Lineups for both teams are being introduced right now.
Not surprisingly, Northern's players are receiving the largest portion of the applause.
First pitch is moments away.
1st update: Columbus' Northern Little League will meet West Virginia in a Southeastern Regional semifinal game at 2 p.m. today.
Check back here for live updates throughout the game.