By GENARO C. ARMAS (Associated Press)
WILLIAMSPORT, PA. – The hometown favorites from Clinton County, Pa., overcame a rocky start with a six-run first inning then held on for a 7-5 win on August 23 over Warner Robins, Ga., before another raucous crowd under the Lamade Stadium lights.
Brandon Miller got the offense going again with a leadoff single before coming around to score on Landon Breon’s two-run single. Miller, Pennsylvania’s 12-year-old sparkplug, finished the scoring in the frantic first with an RBI infield single.
Georgia had the winning run at the plate with two runners on with two outs in the sixth, but reliever Tyler McCloskey snared a bouncer to the mound to end the game.
Georgia advanced to play Pennsylvania by defeating South Dakota 6-3 on August 20, off shortstop Jake Fromm’s homer and four RBIs. The team from Warner Robins, representing the Southeast division, won the LLWS Championship with a 3-2 victory over Japan in 2007.
The Georgia-Pennsylvania nightcap had the intensity of two major league teams competing for a pennant. Pennsylvania’s fans livened up the atmosphere wearing the colors of their beloved “Big Blue Machine.” After giving up three runs in the top of the first, including Josh Goodman’s RBI triple, Pennsylvania starter Trebor Nicodemus felt relief after his offense bailed him out with six runs.
Fromm had another big game, adding a two-run homer to center which sliced the deficit to 7-5 in the fourth. He also made several sparkling defensive plays, including a diving catch in the hole to save an RBI single.
But the first inning proved to be too much for Georgia to overcome.
“The first inning we could have played a lot better defense. I don’t know if it was the crowd or what, but we couldn’t make a play in that first inning,” Georgia manager Phillip Johnson said. “That ended up being the difference in the game.”