LITTLE LEAGUE WORLD SERIES: Texas and Georgia first US teams determined
Some familiar states again will be represented at the Little League World Series.
Teams from Texas and Georgia became the first U.S. teams to qualify for the Series Wednesday afternoon, capturing the Southwest and Southeast Regional championships, respectively. Houston, Texas blanked Tulsa, Oklahoma, 8-0, in the first game and Peachtree City, Georgia shutout South Riding, Virginia, 3-0.
This is the seventh straight year a team from Texas will be playing at the Series which opens Thursday, Aug. 16. Georgia will have its sixth team at the Series since 2006.
Ryan Selvaggi threw four shutout innings, struck out eight and hit a fourth-inning home run as Texas ended Oklahoma’s Cinderella run in impressive fashion. Selvaggi struck out the side in the top of the first after three straight Oklahoma batters walked and Richie Klosek put Texas ahead to stay in the bottom of the inning, smashing a 2-run home run. Cade West made it 4-0 in the third inning when he belted a two-run, pinch-hit double. Selvaggi led off the fourth with a home run and ignited a four-run inning in which West added another RBI.
Texas is undefeated this summer and outscored four Southwest opponents, 43-5. Oklahoma won three games at regionals after entering the tournament 1-43 since the Southwest Region was formed in 2001. A team from Lufkin, Texas captured last year’s U.S. championship. This Texas team starts its quest for national and world titles next Thursday when it plays the New England champion at Lamade Stadium.
Peachtree City, Georgia finally broke through after losing in the past two Southeast championships as Jackson Kenty threw a dazzling 3-hit complete-game and struck out 13. Kenty struck out 26 in two outings at regionals and also hit a third-inning RBI single that produced the game’s first run. Georgia scored all three of its runs in that third inning as Tai Peete added an RBI grounder and Kenty scored on a wild pitch.
Georgia defeated Virginia twice at regionals, went 4-0 and won two one-run games. Kenty struck out 13 batters for a second straight time and was backed by a solid defense that made no errors. Virginia was seeking its first Series berth since 1994 and was playing for a sixth straight day after having won three straight elimination games.
Teams from Georgia have had big success at the Series, winning three world championships and this Georgia team makes its Series debut next Friday against the West champion at Lamade Stadium.