WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — Columbus Northern is making a habit out of comebacks.
After trailing by four runs in the fifth inning Sunday against Alabama and coming back to win the game, Northern played dramatic baseball again Monday, scoring two runs with two out in the sixth inning to tie the game then exploding for five runs in the seventh to take a hard-fought 7-3 win over North Carolina in the Little League Baseball Southeastern Regional.
The win gives Northern a 2 p.m date with West Virginia on Wednesday in the semifinals, a game that will be televised on ESPN2, and puts them two wins away from the Little League World Series.
“Believe me, it’s not the way we are drawing it up,” Georgia coach Randy Morris said. “I just think it says a lot about these kids that we have been able to come from behind so many times lately.
“We saw some very good pitching (Monday), and that was the reason for some of our problems. But when we have to come up with a big hit, we have been able to do it. The No. 1 seed is obviously where you want to be going into the semifinals.”
North Carolina took a 2-0 lead heading into the top of the sixth on the strength of first-inning home runs by Logan Welch and Laney Orr, but could not hold the lead.
Troy Gilliland and Cason Sizemore both had two-out hits to score runs to tie it in the sixth, and then Northern exploded in the final inning on a home run by Blake Hicks and a bases-clearing triple by Kobie Buglioli.
Pitcher Jacob Pate threw the final two innings for the victory.
“I was just trying to put the ball in play,” Sizemore said. “I got a good pitch to hit between the hole and made good contact on it. I guess it was just my turn to come up with a big hit. “
Orr, who pitched for North Carolina struck out 8 batters in 3 2-3 innings and slammed two homers offensively. Hicks led the way for Northern with three hits.
North Carolina also advances to the semifinals and will play undefeated Florida at 6 p.m. Wednesday. That game also will be televised by ESPN2.
at Warner Robins, Ga.
Format: Each team will play the other three teams in its pool. The top two teams in each pool will advance to the semifinals. The winner of the regional will advance to the World Series.
Columbus Northern 3 0
North Carolina 2 1
Alabama 1 2
South Carolina 0 3
Florida 3 0
West Virginia 2 1
Virginia 1 2
Tennessee 0 3
Florida 14, West Virginia 1
Columbus Northern 2, South Carolina 1
North Carolina 4, Alabama 3
Virginia 18, Tennessee 1
Columbus Northern 8, Alabama 7
Florida 4, Virginia 0
West Virginia 11, Tennessee 6
North Carolina 14, South Carolina 2
Florida 5, Tennessee 0
Alabama 10, South Carolina 3
West Virginia 3, Virginia 2
Columbus Northern 7, North Carolina 3
10 a.m. — Tennessee vs. Alabama
1 p.m. — Virginia vs. South Carolina
2 p.m. — Columbus Northern vs. West Virginia
6 p.m. — Florida vs. North Carolina
8 p.m. — Wednesday’s winners