Game 28
east 16 vs. West

Thursday, August 23, 2007
7:30PM ET

When The Lights Went On In Georgia
Southeast moves on to United States Championship with 16-6 win over West

By Mark Rogoff
Special Correspondent

The talk surrounding the United States half of the Little League Baseball World Series this week had been the offensive numbers put forth by the West champs out of Chandler, Ariz.

Chandler came out of pool play leading all U.S. entries with a .353 batting average (30-for-85) and 26 runs scored.

Georgia manager Mickey Lay even admitted, “They’re a good hitting team. They’re a good fundamental team.”

But in Thursday night’s U.S. semi-final game pitting Chandler and Warner Robins, Geo., the tables turned quite a bit, as the Southeast champs were the ones putting on the hitting display.

Georgia got five runs in the first inning, four more in the fourth and closed it out with seven runs in the fifth for a 16-6 mercy-rule victory against Chandler at Howard J. Lamade Stadium. Warner Robins goes on to play in Saturday’s U.S. Championship against the Southeast champs from Lubbock, Tex.

Warner Robins had hit just two homers coming into the game against Chandler. They hit three alone in the fourth and four overall in the game.

“We just went out and played our baseball game,” manager Mickey Lay said. “We’re a good hitting team. We were looking for this matchup, and we got. We made the most of it.”

Two of the blasts came from Payton Purvis, who came off the bench to play his role in the offensive attack. He hit a two-run homer in the fourth and fifth innings.

“It’s just a matter of getting him motivated enough,” Lay said. “(Coach) Mike (Smith) told me Payton was sitting on the bench saying, “I can hit this guy, I can hit this guy.”

He certainly did, and it may have been his preparation prior to the game.

“I worked hard at practice today,” Purvis said with a straight face and hardly any emotion. “I guess that paid off.”

His first homer went over the fence in straightaway centerfield, caroming off a bronze bust of Howard J. Lamade.

“The first day of practice, we came out here and we played on Lamade,” Purvis said. “I was out in left field talking to David (Umphreyville Jr.) or Keaton (Allen) – I can’t remember – and I was like, ‘It would be funny if someone hit a bomb and it hit that guy in the face.’ And I did it tonight. It was funny.”

Warner Robins pulled away with its four-run fourth after Chandler had pulled within one at 5-4 in the third. James Ziegler’s two-run homer to left made it a one-run game.

All four of Georgia runs in the fourth came off Kyle Pechloff, who had come on to pitch in the first inning after starter Skyler Palermo surrendered five runs on three hits and three walks. Pechloff retired the first seven batters he faced before giving up a lead-off single in the fourth to David Umphreyville Jr. That hit turned out to open the floodgates in the inning.

Warner Robins’ Micah Wells went 3-for-4 with three RBI and three runs scored. He teamed up with Dalton Carriker to hit back-to-back homers in the fourth.

“I’m doing better and better,” Wells said.

“Yeah, I don’t like to talk,” he added when he figured he had nothing left to say.

No worries, Micah. The bats did plenty of the talking.

The win for Warner Robins was actually of the come-from-behind variety. Chandler had a 2-0 lead in the top of the first. Ziegler’s single up the middle scored Cody Bellinger, who had reached on a fielder’s choice and advanced to third on a pair of wild pitches. Pechloff’s sacrifice fly brought home Luke Parrish, who had walked and gone to third on Ziegler’s single and a subsequent wild pitch.

But Georgia responded right back in the bottom of the inning, scoring five runs as 10 batters came to the plate. Wells roped a two-run double to the right-centerfield gap. Wells then came around to score after going to third on Clint Wynn’s single to left and home on a passed ball. Following a Kendall Scott fly out, Hunter Jackson and Nick Martens both walked to load the bases. That brought up David Umphreyville Jr., who skied a two-run double over the head of Jake McCann in right field.

“Were getting to the games that we like,” Lay said. “We like the tough games when they push us. We want to be challenged.”

Warner Robins will be the visiting team in the U.S. finale. Lubbock will be the home team.

2007, Little League Baseball Incorporated
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