Baseball on hold while Northern prepares for trip

For the Northern Little League All-stars, baseball is on hold for a few days.

Now, it’s all about logistics.

Northern, the Georgia state champion, won the Southeastern Regional Friday night in Warner Robins.

Next stop, Williamsport and the Little League World Series. But they got to get there first.

“Right now, we are not worried about baseball,” Northern manager Randy Morris said Saturday afternoon. “We have to get all of this other stuff taken care of. We won’t practice again until Tuesday in Williamsport.

Northern’s players and coaches will fly into Philadelphia Monday and make the three-hour drive to Williamsport. The team’s first game is Saturday against the Western Regional champion at 3 p.m. It will be nationally televised by ABC-TV.

In 2006, Morris coached Northern to the World Series championship. He learned some lessons that are coming into play this time around.

First, the team is going out a day earlier than it did four years ago.

“You have all kinds of things you have to do,” Morris said. “The kids have to get physicals. You have to meet with the ESPN reporters, get all of your equipment and do a lot of paper work.”

If Northern advances to the World Series championship game on Aug. 29, the team could be in Williamsport for almost two weeks.

While Little League pays for the players and coaches to travel, the parents and other family members are on their own.

Greg Lang, a deputy chief with the Columbus Fire and Emergency Medical Services, has been through this before.

His son Ryan was on the 2006 team. His son Matthew is on this year’s squad.

Other parents have been calling Lang and his wife, Janet, for advice.

“They are asking a lot of questions about the kids,” Lang said. “Like do you get to see the kids when they are not playing. Little League is strict as far as the kids leaving the campus.”

Lang saw a trip to Williamsport as a possibility for his son’s team. And he planned for it.

“I have been saving my vacation time for a while,” Lang said. “And this is the main reason I saved it.”

Lang plans to work this week and leave for Williamsport on Friday night. That will put him there in time for Saturday’s game.

The opening ceremonies will be Friday morning, with games starting that afternoon.

While Northern is making travel plans, its opening-game opponent has yet to be decided.

The West region champion will not be determined until late today. Southern California from Huntington Beach and Waipahu, Hawaii, are playing for the title in a game that will be televised on ESPN.