Georgia rebounds from late night to move on at Series
A closer look at the Peachtree City, Georgia’s, 3-0 win over Couer d’Alene, Idaho, Saturday at Lamade Stadium.
PLAY OF THE GAME: Georgia had been held scoreless in its first 12 2/3 innings at the Series, so Bo Walker’s two-out, second-inning RBI single provided a huge psychological lift. It also gave the Southeast champions a 1-0 lead they would not relinquish as Tai Peete and Connor Riggs-Soper combined on a one-hit shutout.
GEORGIA PLAYER OF THE GAME: Tai Peete — The well-rounded 13-year-old displayed his entire arsenal, hitting, pitching, running and defending well. Peete earned the win, throwing three innings of two-hit baseball and striking out five. He also powered the offense, going 3 for 4 with a double.
IDAHO PLAYER OF THE GAME: Braeden Newby — The scrappy right-hander did everything he could to keep Idaho in the game. Newby did not have his best stuff and allowed eight hits in five innings, but he battled the entire night and allowed just one earned run. Newby stranded nine Georgia runners in five innings and struck out six. Chase Saunders is a close a second, going 2 for 2.
BIG INNING: Georgia scored a run in both the second and third innings to take a 2-0 lead, but Idaho kept hanging around. Idaho already faced a steep climb going into the sixth inning against Riggs-Soper, and it looked even more difficult when Cole Manetti opened the sixth inning with a single and Chase Fralick hit an RBI single which made it 3-0.
BEST EFFORT: In addition to facing a strong Idaho team, Georgia also had to play just 20 hours after dropping an epic 11-inning, 2-0 contest against Hawaii. That game did not end until 11:55 p.m. Friday, but Georgia showed no signs of fatigue and played an excellent all-around game. Peete and Riggs-Soper dominated on the mound, Georgia had 10 hits, and its stellar defense made no errors.
FLASHING LEATHER: Peete helped his cause in the second inning when he fielded a hard-hit Caden Symons grounder and threw to first baseman Jansen Kenty for the final out. Georgia second baseman Willis Maginnis made one of the game’s biggest plays, turning an inning-ending double play in the fourth. Idaho had put the tying runs on base in a 2-0 game when Maginnis smoothly handed a tricky two-hopper. He tagged out the runner going to second before making a quick throw to first and stifling a potential rally.
WHAT THE ADULTS SAY: “These 12-year-olds are pretty resilient,” Idaho manager Sean Cherry said. “We had them ready and got them into baseball focus. They were ready to play (Saturday). The bats just came up a little short, but I’m so proud of these guys. They’ve had such a great experience here.”
WHAT THE KIDS SAY: “Every time I went to the bullpen there were a lot of little kids that would want a ball and if I wouldn’t give them a ball then they start crying and I’ll feel really bad,” Peete said. “It’s hard being famous. I don’t like it.”
WHAT IT MEANS: Georgia stays in the hunt for a world championship and plays another elimination game Monday against the loser of today’s Texas-New York game. Idaho is eliminated at the Series, but can end its league’s best season ever on a high if it defeats Spain in Tuesday’s consolation game.