Playmakers and risk takers

Published August 8, 2006

GULFPORT - Pool play at the Little League Southeast Regional is complete and only one team will remain at the end of the week, but for other players this week has meant so much more. Here are a few snapshots:

* Despite giving up 12 home runs and scoring no runs in pool play, West Virginia players deserve a pat on the back. Why? After each and every bomb - including seven in one game hit by Georgia - West Virginia's infield gave the hitter a high five while rounding the bases, displaying true sportsmanship.* Dunedin clearly wins the award for most total team hair and could easily pass for an X Games crew. And from a distance, Josh Brackenhamer and Alex Hart are dead ringers for Tanner Boyle from the Bad News Bears (the original, of course).* Alabama lost a pair of 1-0 games, each with two out in their opponents' final at-bat: North Carolina's Stephen Whedbee doubled in a run in Game 1 and South Carolina's Kyle Whitman had a two-strike single in Game 3. The losses spoiled great pitching efforts from Robby Peele and Nathaniel Bartlett.* Georgia's Kyle Carter has proven to be the tournament's most dangerous player. He twice has led off games with a homer and has five in three games. His blast in the tournament's first at-bat cleared the scoreboard and likely landed about 20 feet shy of Tropicana Field. * West Virginia rightfielder Alex Harclerode turned in the defensive gem of the tournament. Harclerode ranged to his left on a sinking liner and sprawled out to make a fully-extended, diving catch that saved a pair of runs.