SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. - Warner Robins has a chance to make it two consecutive Little League World Series championships by teams from Georgia after advancing to the title game with a 5-2 win yesterday over Lubbock, Texas.
Georgia will face Tokyo today. The team from Japan beat Willemstad, Curacao, 7-4, in yesterday's international final. Ryo Kanekubo's grand slam in the bottom of the sixth lifted Japan.
Dalton Carriker homered, David Umphreyville Jr. hit a two-run single, and Zane Conlon snared a line drive to end a rally to lead Warner Robins.
The last two Georgia teams to advance to South Williamsport have come away with the World Series trophy, including Columbus last year and East Marietta in 1983.
As giddy Warner Robins players posed with the "U.S. champions" banner, their fans chanted, "USA! USA!" Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue cheered them on from the stands.
U.S. teams have won the previous two World Series titles - Hawaii in 2005 before Georgia's victory last year. The United States hasn't had a streak of three or more titles since winning eight straight from 1959 to 1966.
Georgia took a 4-0 lead in the third inning on the homer by Carriker and two-run single by Umphreyville.
Lubbock's Garret Williams homered in the bottom of the third as Texas closed to within 4-2. Umphreyville scored on a bases-loaded walk to give Warner Robins a 5-2 lead in the top of the sixth.
Lubbock manager Ed Thorne, asked whether he was convinced the better team lost, said, "Yes, sir, I am."
"Japan will win that ball game," Thorne said. "Every ball we hit went right at people. You hate to lose games like that, but that's baseball."
Georgia manager Mickey Lay wasn't amused when he heard about Thorne's answer.
"Look at the scoreboard," Lay said. "They are a good team, but you need the right chemistry, with the right touch at the right time to make it happen."
In the first game, Kanekubo raised his right arm in triumph as soon as he smacked the 2-2 pitch, an inside fastball, over the hedges beyond left-center field for the game-winning grand slam.
It was Kanekubo's second homer of the afternoon, and the second straight game that Japan had ended with a winning home run.