A day after a rainout, Florida endures another rain delay to beat North Carolina 5-0 in the Southeast Region.
By ROVEN YAU
Published August 9, 2003
GULFPORT - When it finally ended, 24 hours after it began, there were more sighs of relief than cheers when Florida defeated North Carolina 5-0 to advance to today's Southeast Region championship game.
North Carolina caught a break on Thursday when rain washed away Florida's 2-0 lead. The game restarted Friday at Arnold S. White Stadium because an official inning was not recorded on Thursday.
"We snuck in today with a second life," North Carolina coach Wyane Long said.
Long's team had a third life when a four hour, 33 minute rain delay stopped the game. But all the extra lives could not help North Carolina avoid Florida's relentless offense.
Florida kept Thursday's lineup intact while North Carolina used Jeff Ferrell at pitcher instead of Caleb Long.
Florida pitcher Cody Emerson helped his cause by scoring the first run against Ferrell in the second. Emerson drew a walk and scored from second on Andrew Weaver's single over third base.
R.J. Neal took advantage of Ferrell's lack of control in the third by drawing a walk, moving to third on a single by Emerson and scoring on a wild pitch.
Michael Broad's run-scoring single in the fourth helped Florida rally for three more runs.
Richie DeJesus had three hits for Florida but it was Cody Emerson's six innings of shutout pitching that helped eliminate North Carolina.
Emerson held North Carolina to four hits, and had full command of his off-speed pitches.
"When I threw my curveball enough, it made my fastball seem like it was going 100 miles an hour," Emerson said.
Emerson continued pitching after the rain delay with runners at first and second in the top of the fifth. Brennan Poston popped up to catcher Andrew Weaver to end the threat. In the sixth Emerson got Ferrell to ground out, ending the game.
Florida faces Georgia tonight for the Southeast Region championship with the winner advancing to the Little League World Series.