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One win not enough in Regional for Little Leaguers

By Bob Madison - For the Chronicle | Aug 13, 2021

WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — Even with a comeback 7-5 win over Virginia in the second of the three games they played in the Little League’s Southeastern Regional Tournament, the Jefferson County 10-12 All-Stars were finally eliminated from the event when falling to Nolensville, Tenn., 11-3, in a loser’s bracket game played on Sunday in Warner Robins, Ga.

The loss to the team from Tennessee was Jefferson County’s second of the eight-team event — the initial loss coming against Greenville, N.C., 4-3, in the opening round.

Jefferson County was a bit unlucky in their tournament journey because a day after the one-run loss to North Carolina the Tar Heel League youngsters were removed from the event when a player contracted the coronavirus. North Carolina had to forfeit its second and third games without playing again.

In its first game of the Southeastern Region against North Carolina, Jefferson County took a 1-0 lead when Serf Guerra homered in the top of the first inning.

Tar Heel rallied for the game’s next three runs against Jefferson County starting pitcher Liam Sager to take a 3-1 lead after three innings. Sager would pitch 3.1 innings, allowing three runs and three hits.

The Carolinians had a 4-1 lead when Jefferson County batted in the top of the sixth. A two-run rally was not enough to erase the earlier Tar Heel lead.

Guerra finished with a 2-for-2 morning at the plate as did Teagan Moulton. Ben Popek drove in a run in the late-inning rally.

Hunter Heffner, Mason Lowery and Moulton all followed Sager to the mound for Jefferson County.

In the second round, Jefferson County erupted for four runs in the bottom of the fifth to overcome Warwick, Va.’s 5-3 lead.

Warwick also had a 3-0 lead in the third inning.

Cameron Weiand’s long triple over the head of the Virginia center fielder tied the game at five in the prosperous fifth. He scored on a wild pitch that was actually the fourth ball of a walk to the next batter.

Moulton turned in another 2-for-2 morning at the plate. He had an RBI. Andrew Rolfe drove in a run and Guerra was walked twice.

Lowery went 3.2 innings on the mound, allowing four hits and four walks while fanning four Virginians. Guerra got credit for the win and went 2.1 innings, striking out three.

Lowery contributed a double at the plate and Aiden Horowicz drove in a run.

Virginia was eliminated with its second loss and Jefferson County moved on ahead to face Tennessee in another elimination game.

Tennessee struck for four runs in the top of the first and then withstood Jefferson County’s scoring in both the second and third innings.

Leading only 4-3 going to the top of the fifth, Nolensville took charge of the scoreboard with a seven-run explosion. Nolan Brown homered, went 3-for-4 and had three RBIs for the Tennessee state champions.

Limited to four hits, Jefferson County had safeties from Lowery, Weiand, Sager and Harrison Garrett. Guerra was walked intentionally three times from his leadoff spot in the batting order. Sager’s double was Jefferson County’s only extra base hit.

Heffner relieved Xavier Shroeck in the first inning and pitched 4.1 innings.

Jefferson County had staggered the opposition in winning four games at the West Virginia state tournament — beating Shinnston 11-0, stopping Barboursville 13-3, taming Logan 10-0 and finally blasting Logan 10-0 in the final game of the state event held in Lewisburg.