Monday, August 23, 2010

North Carolina Little League team fell just short of the national spotlight

If you're not watching the Little League World Series on ESPN and ABC, you should check it out. The double-elimination tournament continues through Saturday when a U.S. champion is determined and Sunday when a World champion is determined.

The team from the Southeast appears to be one of three U.S. powerhouses (the others Texas and Ohio). That Georgia team came out of a regional held in Georgia where the team from North Carolina - Winston-Salem Nationals - lost in the semi-finals.

Winston-Salem National, representing the Tar Heel state, fell to the eventual runner-up Melbourne, Fla. team 3-2. The Florida team had outscored opponents 22-1 going into that game so North Carolina got close to some national TV exposure.

Winston-Salem got the tying run to third in the last inning but a Florida relief pitcher came on to strike out two straight batters to end the game.

Unfortunately, it's been since 2004 that North Carolina won the Southeast regional and went on to play in the Little League World Series tournament. That year a team from Morganton went undefeated and beat a team from Georgia (which wins most of the Southeast regional titles) to advance to the World Series.

That North Carolina team made it all the way to the U.S. semi-finals before losing to Richmond, Texas, which lost in the U.S. championship game to the West team from Thousand Oaks, Ca.

By the way, no team from the Triangle area made it to the North Carolina championships where Greenville, Wilson, Boiling Springs, Charlotte and Morganton teams competed against Winston-Salem.

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