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Maitland, Georgia face off for title
By BRANDON WRIGHT
Published August 11, 2005
GULFPORT - After Georgia picked its all-star representatives earlier this summer, players grabbed pretend microphones and practiced their on-air ESPN interviews in hopes of making it to the championship game, which will be televised on the network.
Now it's time for the red light to come on.
Georgia scored nine in the second inning en route to a 14-3 win against West Virginia and will meet Maitland, a 9-2 winner against Tennessee in the championship game at 7 p.m. Friday.
"It's a tradition," Georgia manager Gip Johnston said. "The first thing we do is (mock) ESPN interviews, and it's so fun when it works out."
Johnston managed the 2003 team that lost to East Boynton Beach in the region final. Two years later, redemption is a day away.
"The (2003 team) was a great team," Johnston said. "But this year's team has so much power. Every guy can hit it out."
Keller Carlock hit Georgia's tournament-high eighth home run against West Virginia and is one of three players on the team with two homers.
"At this level, every team has three or four studs," Johnston said. "I have 12."
Carlock - 10-for-12 in the tournament - had three more hits Wednesday. John Stelling struck out six in four innings for the win.
"I am just so proud of my boys because we've wanted this more than anything," Johnston said.
Johnston said he had not decided who would start Friday but Clayton Lau, with two tournament wins, is the likely choice.
Despite pitcher Skip Kovar being roughed up in Maitland's 9-3 loss to Virginia on Sunday, manager Sid Cash said his No.2 starter would be needed down the road if the team were to make it to the World Series.
That time was Wednesday night.
Kovar pitched a complete-game four-hitter and got his second homer of the tournament as Maitland advanced.
"Skip was just determined to battle, and he left one pitch up but he never lost his composure," Cash said.
Maitland trailed 2-0 after Brandon Brooks' two-run homer in the first, but Kovar settled down, allowing one hit after the second.
Maitland's offense took care of the rest with a five-run fourth.
Lee Dunham's run-scoring groundout got Maitland on the board, but the key play came when Trent Richardi's two-out grounder to first was mishandled. Two batters later, Max Moroff's two-run double down the right-field line gave Maitland a 3-2 lead.
Michael Tomlinson and Kovar each had a two-run homer to lead Maitland.
Cash said Dante Bichette, who has not given up a run in two tournament wins, will start Friday.
EAST LAKE: Kyle Westwood threw a complete-game and Nick Franz scored the winner as the East Lake Juniors defeated North Carolina 4-3 in the Southern Region championship game at Carterville, Ga.
Westwood struck out seven and scattered four hits while giving up one earned run.
East Lake took a 2-0 lead in the third when Mike Pepe scored on an error and Westwood delivered a run-scoring groundout. North Carolina scored two in the fourth and another in the fifth to take a 3-2 lead before East Lake tied it on a Lincoln Dunham's run-scoring double. Franz scored the winner on an error in the sixth.
East Lake returns home this morning and will practice Friday before leaving for the World Series in Michigan on Saturday. East Lake opens against the Central Region champion at 8:15 p.m. Sunday.