Tennessee is sending a team back to the Little League World Series for the second consecutive year. South Nashville LL from Nashville, Tenn., defeated Henrico, Va., 5-3 in the Southwest Regional tournament championship game Friday night in Warner Robins, Ga. It will be the first team from Nashville to make it to Williamsport since 1970.
Goodlettsville, from near Nashville, represented the Southeast region last year and reached the LLWS?final.
Nashville's Tanner Morgan got the win, going 3 innings, allowing 3 runs on 3 hits and striking out 6.
But Morgan wasn't the star of the game, it was actually first baseman and reliever Trae McLemore. McLemore pitched three shutout innings, giving up three hits and striking out four. He also had a two run single in the third inning that tied the game at 3. At the plate McLemore finished 2 for 3 with two RBIs. Right fielder Robert Hassell had the big hit that pushed Nashville over the top.
Two batters after McLemore's two run single, Hassell hit a two run home run to deep left field that gave Tennessee the 5-3 lead. Tennessee scored five runs in the inning on four hits.
Nashville did all this after Henrico scored three runs in the third to get out to a 3-0 lead. Pitcher Mark Buisson hit a two run home run in the third. It was Bruisson's fourth consecutive game with a home run and it was Henrico's 10th home run in the tournament. No other team had more then three home runs in the tournament.
But Henrico didn't have anymore power after that. After the home run, Henrico scored one more run on an error to make it 3-0, but collected just two hits after that.
Buissson started out strong on the mound, in the first two innings he only allowed one hit in the first two innings but he struggled with control in the third, when he gave up 5 runs.
Nashville will play the New England regional winner on Aug. 15 at the LLWS, which will either be Lincoln, R.I., or Westport, Conn. That game will be decided tonight at 7 on ESPN.
Nashville wasn't the only team that punched its ticket to South Williamsport Friday. Urbandale, Iowa defeated Coon Rapids, Minn., 3-2 in the Midwest Regional championship Friday afternoon in Indianapolis. It will be the state of Iowa's 10th Midwest championship.
Urbandale starting pitcher Brady Roberts was solid the whole game. He went 5 1/3 innings allowing two runs on three hits and striking out seven. Carter Troncin ended up with the win as he got the final two outs of the game, both of which came from strikeouts.
Coon Rapids starter Nolan Belschner also pitched very well. Belschner pitched five innings, giving up two runs on six hits and two runs and striking out two.
The game winning run came in the sixth inning when Iowa pinch runner Josh Neyens scored on a passed ball that made it 3-2.
Iowa will play the winner of the Mid-Atlantic tournament, which will conclude on Sunday.
The Mid-Atlantic semifinal games that were originally scheduled for Friday in Bristol, Conn., have been moved to today due to inclement weather.
Game one between Newark, Del., and Washington D.C. will be played today at 11 and game two of Berlin, Md., and Lionville, Pa., will be played at 2. Both games will be live on ESPNU. The championship game is to be played Sunday at 6 on ESPN2.
Tennessee 5, Virginia 3
Virginia 003 000-3 5 1
Tennessee 005 00-5 7 3
Mark Buisson, Jack Carpin (4th) and Connor Schnupp. Tanner Morgan, Trae McLemore (4th) and Chris McElvain. W-Morgan. L-Buisson.
Top Virginia hitters: Mark Buisson 1-4, two run HR. Top Tennessee hitters: Robert Hassell 2-2, two run HR. Trae McLemore 2-3, 2 RBIs. Zane Denton 1-3, RBI.
Records: Tennessee 4-1. Virginia 4-1.
Next game: Tennessee vs. winner of New England regionals, Aug. 15 at 7.
Iowa 3 Minnesota 2
Minnesota010 010 -2 3 3
Iowa110 001-3 7 0
Nolan Belschner, Lucas McCain (6th). Brady Roberts, Carter Troncin. W-Troncin. L-McCain.
Top Minnesota hitters: Will Goodin 1-3, RBI. Top Iowa hitters: Lucas Strain 1-3, RBI. Brooke Heinen 1-1, double.
Records: Iowa 4-1. Minnesota 5-1. Next game: Iowa vs. winner of Mid-Atlantic regionals, Aug. 16 at 8.