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Georgia hands Dunedin first loss of tournament

Team Florida gives up a grand slam in the sixth inning, falling 10-6 to Georgia.

By BRANDON WRIGHT
Published August 8, 2006


GULFPORT - Georgia's Cody Walker blasted a two-out grand slam in the bottom of the sixth inning to give Georgia a come-from-behind 10-6 win over Dunedin on Monday in the Little League Southeast Regional at Arnold S. White Stadium.

Both teams already had qualified for Wednesday's semifinals, so Monday's game boiled down to seeding. Dunedin, representing Team Florida, now plays Pool A winners North Carolina at 7 p.m. while Georgia faces runnerup Alabama at 4 p.m.

"This might be the best thing that could have happened to us," Dunedin manager Matt Morrow said. "Because the guys are a little angry right now. This ain't a bad thing."

It was Dunedin's first loss of the postseason.

"We're still playing Wednesday, so it doesn't really matter," pitcher Alex Hart said. "We wanted to win, but we'll come back strong."

Georgia manager Randy Morris also seemed to take the semifinal tuneup in stride.

"I never want to lose a game no matter what," he said. "But we knew they wouldn't throw their top pitchers and neither were we, so I just told the guys before the game we just have to outslug them and see what happens."

After Brady Hamilton's single tied it at 6 in the sixth, Dunedin reliever Ben Emery walked the bases loaded. Walker (2-for-4) then lofted a towering flyball over the fence in rightfield for his fourth home run of the tournament.

"My coach told me before the at-bat to just relax because either way, we were still playing on Wednesday," Walker said. "I just went with the pitch."

Neither coach tipped his hand much pitching-wise, with Dunedin starter Will Honeycutt and Georgia's T.J. Phillips pitching a predetermined one inning each.

"We just wanted to get our pitching in order for the semis and I think (Dunedin) did the same," Morris said.

Hart pitched well in relief of Honeycutt, scattering six hits and striking out one in four innings.

With Dunedin trailing 3-0, Emery's 10th homer of the summer and first of the tournament couldn't have come at a better time as his third-inning grand slam gave Dunedin a 4-3 lead.

Dunedin tacked on two more in the third, but Georgia got homers from Kyle Rovig and Kyle Carter - his tournament-high fifth - to pull within one before the slam.

"To be honest, we should have won that game," Morrow said. "This is going to light a fire under our kids."

TENn. 10, W. Va. 0: Tennessee (1-2) got four home runs and pitcher Jordan Chard tossed a one-hit shutout. Dathan Prewett (3-for-3), Kei Austin Jones, Shaq Mason and Chard all went deep for Tennessee. John Koon doubled for West Virginia's (0-3) lone hit.

S.C. 1, ALA. 0: Kyle Whitman's two-out, two-strike base hit in the bottom of the sixth was the difference. Whitman also struck out four to earn the complete-game victory. Nathaniel Bartlett took the loss, despite allowing just three hits and striking out eight.

N.C. 11, Va. 4: North Carolina scored 10 in the third inning to complete a 3-0 run through pool play. Four N.C. pitchers combined to throw a five-hitter, with starter Thomas Conlin getting the win. Charlie Herring and Jordan Taunton had three hits each for North Carolina while Virginia's (1-2) Samuel Slough homered twice.