As the Little League World Series concluded last week, there was a local team from Goodlettsville, Tennessee in the tournament. People here were psyched up about it as you would imagine. Unfortunately, the Tennessee team came up short to New York in the United States final. I can understand the hype as I got wrapped up in it in myself in 2007 when the Warner Robins Little League team made it to the championship against Japan.
Japan was the overwhelming favorite in that game but the United States team represented by Warner Robins Little League made it one of the most dramatic endings in Little League World Series history.
Dalton Carriker won the game for the USA with a walk-off home run in the 8th inning (Little League regulation games are 6 innings). The team went undefeated winning all 12 games on their road to the championship and ended with the 3-2 win over Japan.
Warner Robins pitcher Kendall Scott pitched 5.2 innings, gave up one hit and struck out 10.
Japan scored in the top of the first when Japan’s Yuri Yasuda dropped a triple onto the right field warning track to bring Masaya Ogino home from second base for a 1-0 lead. In the second inning, Japan loaded the bases when Ogino smacked a hit off of USA pitcher Keaton Allen’s leg and toward the infield dirt which allowed a run to score to extend the lead to 2-0. The USA team shut down Japan after that and got out of the inning.
With two outs and runners on the corners in the bottom of the second, Allen hit a two-run double off the centerfield wall to tie the score at 2-2.
Carriker’s dramatic home run came on a 2-1 pitch from Japan’s Junsho Kiuchi in the 8th. Click here to see it.
Living in Warner Robins at the time, I witnessed the hype first hand and even attended the victory parade. The success of Warner Robins Little League eventually led to the Southeast Regional Tournament location to be moved to Warner Robins in 2008.