2008 Little League® Baseball Southeastern Region Tournament
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Southeastern Region Tournament
Major Baseball Division



Toward the past
2008

Toward the present

Southeastern Region Tournament
Host - Southern Region Headquarters; Gulfport, Florida
At Arnold S. White Stadium

Pool 'A' Participants City League
Florida State Champions Citrus Park Citrus Park LL
Georgia State Champions Warner Robins Warner Robins American LL
Tennessee State Champions Tullahoma Tullahoma National LL
West Virginia State Champions Hurricane Hurricane LL

Pool 'B' Participants City League
Alabama State Champions Mobile Mobile Westside LL
North Carolina State Champions Wilmington Wilmington LL
South Carolina State Champions Fort Mill TCFM Yellow Jackets LL
Virginia State Champions Richmond Tuckahoe American LL

NOTE: Participants in the 2008 Southeastern Region Tournament were divided into two pools. At the completion of round-robin competition within each pool, the top two teams in each pool advanced to single-elimination semifinal and championship round games.

Click here to view state tournament results for Southeastern Region Tournament participants.


Tournament Results:

Day 1 (Saturday, August 2):
Mobile Westside (Alabama) 19, Wilmington (North Carolina) 3 (4 innings)
Warner Robins American (Georgia) 7, Tullahoma National (Tennessee) 3
Citrus Park (Florida) 7, Hurricane (West Virginia) 0
TCFM Yellow Jackets (South Carolina) 5, Tuckahoe American (Virginia) 0

Day 2 (Monday, August 4):
Tullahoma National (Tennessee) 2, Hurricane (West Virginia) 1
Mobile Westside (Alabama) 6, Tuckahoe American (Virginia) 5
TCFM Yellow Jackets (South Carolina) 8, Wilmington (North Carolina) 4
Citrus Park (Florida) 3, Warner Robins American (Georgia) 2

Day 3 (Tuesday, August 5):
Mobile Westside (Alabama) 4, TCFM Yellow Jackets (South Carolina) 3
Warner Robins American (Georgia) 14, Hurricane (West Virginia) 3
Citrus Park (Florida) 10, Tullahoma National (Tennessee) 2
Wilmington (North Carolina) 11, Tuckahoe American (Virginia) 4


Pool 'A' Standings

W

L
Runs
Allowed
Citrus Park (Florida) 3 0 4
Warner Robins American (Georgia) 2 1 9
Tullahoma National (Tennessee) 1 2 18
Hurricane (West Virginia) 0 3 23


Pool 'B' Standings

W

L

Runs
Allowed
Mobile Westside (Alabama) 3 0 11
TCFM Yellow Jackets (South Carolina) 2 1 8
Wilmington (North Carolina) 1 2 31
Tuckahoe American (Virginia) 0 3 22

The top two teams in each pool advance to the semifinal round.

Ties are broken based on records in head-to-head competition among tied teams. If a clear winner cannot be determined from head-to-head results, the tie is broken by calculating the ratio of runs allowed to defensive innings played for all teams involved in the tie. The team with the lowest runs-per-defensive-inning ratio advances.

In the event of a tie involving three or more teams, once the initial tie is broken, the remaining tied teams are again compared on head-to-head record to determine if a clear winner can be identified. If no clear winner can be identified from head-to-head results among the remaining tied teams, the runs-per-defensive-inning ratio is again used. This process is repeated until all ties have been broken.

Consolation Games (Wednesday, August 6)

Wilmington (North Carolina) 7, Hurricane (West Virginia) 5
Tullahoma National (Tennessee) 16, Tuckahoe American (Virginia) 10

Southeastern Region Tournament Semifinals (Wednesday, August 6)

Mobile Westside (Alabama) 16, Warner Robins American (Georgia) 14
Citrus Park (Florida) 5, TCFM Yellow Jackets (South Carolina) 0

Southeastern Region Tournament Championship Game (Friday, August 8)

Citrus Park (Florida) 11, Mobile Westside (Alabama) 0 (5 innings; TITLE)


Summary:

Arnold S. White Stadium in Gulfport, Florida, first hosted a Little League Baseball region tournament in 1967. Four teams from as far away as Texas and West Virginia converged on the Gulf Coast community to compete for the Southern Region title, but the championship flag stayed local: Florida's West Tampa Little League shut out St. Albans (West Virginia) Little League, 3-0, and became the first Florida league to advance to the Little League World Series since the Lakeland Orange Little League thirteen years before. It has been so long since Florida's last Williamsport qualifier that Lakeland's star pitcher, Boog Powell, was already in his sixth full season as a member of the Baltimore Orioles by the time another Florida team made the journey.

But the Gulfport facility, which became Little League's Southern Region headquarters, was kind to Florida teams -- especially those from the baseball-rich Tampa Bay area. West Tampa followed with a second region championship just two years later. Tampa's Belmont Heights Little League claimed an extraordinary four region championships -- a feat matched by only one other U.S. league -- in a nine year span between 1973 and 1981. A pair of Sarasota leagues traced the same footpath in the 1980s. And leagues from Tampa, Dunedin, and Bradenton all followed suit by the close of the milleneum.

And as Florida leagues stepped up, so too did local volunteers. James Davis was the facility's groundskeeper for 35 years. Katie Blair, who ran the souvenier stand during the tournament, was in her 33rd year as a volunteer at the regional. Bob Branch had served in a variety of capacities over his 43-years of service. And countless other volunteers returned to lend a hand year after year.

By 2008, however, the curtain was drawing to a close on the venerable facility. Earlier in the year, Little League Baseball agreed to sell its Gulfport complex to make way for an expansion of neighboring Boca Ciega High School. One element of the sale agreement: Little League Baseball would hold one final region tournament at the stadium, before settling on a new home for the region office and tournament.

"No question, it's the end of an era," said Lance Van Auken, Little League Baseball's Senior Communication Executive and a native of the area. "I watched games there when I was nine years old."

Though Little League's nearly half-century stay in Gulfport was drawing to a close, there was time for one more local team to use the tournament as a springboard to South Williamsport.

Tampa's Citrus Park Little League allowed just four runs over the course of five games, and shut down a potent Mobile Westside (Alabama) offense in a 11-0 championship game victory at the 2008 Southeastern Region tournament. With the win, Citrus Park became the twelfth Tampa Bay area league to advance to the Little League World Series.

Mobile Westside had smashed its way into the championship game, batting a collective .426 and homering a staggering 20 times in just four games in Gulfport. But Citrus Park pitchers Mike McGuire and Wyatt Reid combined to hold the Alabama juggernaut to just three hits and zero runs in the five inning game. McGuire allowed only one hit in the first two innings, but was forced to switch positions after injuring himself while making a barehanded stop. (He remained in the game at other positions.) Reid then took over, and struck out four while permitting just two hits over the final three innings.

"I'll tell you one thing," said Citrus Park manager Joe McGuire of Reid's performance. "He was dealing it from the mound."

For Reid, the pitching effort capped a performance that would stand up well against any in the forty-plus region championship games played on the same field. The right-hander produced runs in each of his four plate appearances, slamming two home runs and driving in seven runs. His three-run homer in the third inning broke the game open, and his two-run shot to left in the fifth pushed Florida's lead to double-digits and involked the mercy rule. Reid's second home run capped a six-run explosion in which Danny Lastra, Brett Wilkosz, and Kevin Merrell all homered earlier in the inning. Citrus Park collected eleven hits in the game.

"I wanted the bats to come alive like they did in Boynton Beach. I wanted them to hit like they did in the state championship game," said Joe McGuire, drawing parallels to Citrus Park's 12-1 win over Fort Myers American in the deciding game of the Florida state tournament. Citrus Park homered four times and scored eleven runs in the third inning of that contest, turning a tie game into a mercy rule finish in an decisive third inning rally.

Strong pitching had been at the core of Citrus Park's performance throughout the region tournament. Five pitchers combined to hold opposing hitters to a meager .174 batting average. The team posted three three shutouts, allowed only four runs overall, and compiled a 44-7 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Citrus Park never trailed in any of its games in Gulfport, and jumped to first inning leads against four of its five regional opponents.

"We love to score runs in the first inning," said Joe McGuire during the tournament. "It just takes all the pressure off the pitching and everything else."

Citrus Park's roster included a nucleus of players that won the 2006 Tournament of State Champions, a sanctioned competition for state champions in Little League's 9-10 year old division. The same core group got off to a strong start in the 2008 regional, jumping on Hurricane (West Virginia) Little League for four runs in the first inning of a 7-0 victory. Hurricane walked the bases loaded in the bottom of the first inning, then Austin McCullers opened the scoring with a bases-clearing double to left center field. Lastra followed with a run-scoring single, giving Citrus Park's pitchers ample cushion. Four Florida pitchers combined to hold Hurricane to just two hits, as Joe McGuire minimized pitch counts to maintain more flexibility in his options for future games. Merrell started, and after allowing a leadoff single, retired the next eight hitters he faced before Mike McGuire, Levi Gilcrease, and Darren Miller each took a turn on the mound.

"It was a good first game," said Joe McGuire. "We played good defense, we pitched well, and we hit well. That was a good team we just beat."

The next evening, Mike McGuire and Reid handled the pitching duties as Citrus Park edged 2007 Little League World Series champion Warner Robins American (Georgia) Little League, 3-2. Mike McGuire surrendered only three hits before reaching his pitch count limit in the fifth, and Reid registered the final four outs to close out the win.

Pinch hitter Lee Huckaby provided the big blow offensively for Citrus Park, leading off the third inning with a home run just inside the left field foul pole to give the Florida squad a 3-1 lead. Georgia's Cody Carter countered with a leadoff shot of his own in the sixth, and Warner Robins then proceeded to load the bases with two outs. Citrus Park sealed the win when catcher Ryan McCullers corralled a tapper in front of the batter's box and stepped on the plate to end the game.

Citrus Park completed a sweep of its pool opponents the next day, when it scored five times before the first Tullahoma National (Tennessee) Little League hitter stepped to the plate in a 10-2 Florida win. Merrell and Ryan McCullers drew walks to open the game, then Mike McGuire drove in the first Florida run with a double. Ryan McCullers scored on a wild pitch, and Reid followed with a run-scoring double. One out later, Austin McCullers drew a walk, and he and Reid both came around to score on a series of wild pitches.

Mike McGuire liked the fast start.

"Score five runs in the first inning, that's the key to our success," said the Florida manager.

The win lifted Citrus Park into the semifinal round, where Merrell's two-hit complete game lifted the team past the TCFM Yellow Jackets Little League (Tega Cay / Fort Mill, South Carolina), 5-0. The right-hander did not allow a hit after the second inning, and struck out seven to outduel South Carolina starter Josh Corley.

"That as a great performance," said Joe McGuire, whose team didn't manage their first hit until the fourth inning. "It all goes on No. 2 (Merrell's uniform number)."

Wilkosz helped Citrus Park to finally break the scoreless deadlock with an RBI single in the fifth inning, and run scoring hits from Mike McGuire, Gilcrease, and Lastra in the sixth helped to seal the win.

Mobile Westside -- which reached the region championship game for the second consecutive year despite returning no players from the previous year's team -- made its presence felt immediately in the other pool. The Alabama champions slammed nine home runs and pounded 17 hits in the tournament's inaugural game, a 19-3 win over Wilmington (North Carolina) Little League. Mobile added four more homers over the course of their next two pool games, then belted another seven in a semifinal round win over Warner Robins American. In all, ten different Alabama players cleared the fences in the team's first four games in Gulfport.

"We call it 'gorilla ball'," said Alabama manager Travis Hall. "You just cannot defense a home run. And everybody on this team can hit a home run."

Mobile's power fueled an epic close to the team's semifinal round win over Warner Robins American. Alabama led 6-3 after four innings, but 22 runs crossed the plate in the game's final two frames in what became a wild 16-14 Westside victory. Warner Robins closed the gap with three runs in the top of the fifth, but Mobile responded with five runs and carried a 11-6 lead into the final inning. Warner Robins fought back, and with two outs, tied the game on Carter's three-run homer. Griffen Martin followed with an RBI single, and World Series veteran Payton Purvis added a two-run shot to give Georgia a 14-11 lead.

Mobile then reached deep for a comeback of its own. Hayden Gaines opened the bottom of the sixth with a homer, and two outs later, Greg White narrowed the Georgia lead to one with another solo shot. Warner Robins elected to intentionally walk Matthew Hall (5-for-6 with two home runs to that point in the tournament) and Brian Lane (6-for-14 with three home runs), but the strategy backfired when Tyler Atchison drilled a full count pitch over the left field fence for a walk-off three-run homer.

Two days later, Mike McGuire and Reid held that same powerful offense to a trio of harmless singles as Citrus Park joined an elite group of Tampa-area leagues that advanced to South Williamsport. The rosters of those past region champions are littered with names that became legendary both locally and nationally: John Tagliarino, Vance Lovelace, Derek Bell, Gary Sheffield, Kevin Cash -- the list goes on.

For the McGuire family, the win meant an even busier August, and certainly a memorable summer. Three days after Citrus Park clinched its trip to South Williamsport, McGuire's daughter, Morgan, and her Citrus Park teammates opened play in the Big League Softball division World Series in Kalamazoo, Michigan. And like Citrus Park's Williamsport-bound major baseball team, which joined legends of the past in claiming a region championship between the foul lines at Arnold S. White Stadium, Citrus Park's softball team harkened back to past glories. The core of the league's World Series-bound softball team had won the Senior League Softball World Series in 2005.

The repeat region championships, for both Citrus Park teams, were fitting. For the legacy of excellence which Citrus Park established mirrors that of the broader community which converged on Gulfport each year. That community fostered its own tradition of excellence, particularly through the ongoing commitment from volunteers who returned time and again when the calendar turned to summer. The new region host will establish its own traditions, and, over time, will enrich the legacy established by those who came before.

On the field, as well as off.


Linescores:

  Pool Play Game 1 1 2 3 4 5 6 R H E
Mobile Westside (Alabama) 4 6 4 5 19 17 2
Wilmington (North Carolina) 0 1 2 0 3 5 3
  Pool Play Game 2
Tullahoma National (Tennessee) 0 0 2 0 0 1 3 5 2
Warner Robins American (Georgia) 0 2 1 0 4 x 7 7 1
  Pool Play Game 3
Hurricane (West Virginia) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2
Citrus Park (Florida) 4 0 1 0 2 x 7 7 0
  Pool Play Game 4
Tuckahoe American (Virginia) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 2
TCFM Yellow Jackets (South Carolina) 0 2 1 0 2 x 5 3 1
  Pool Play Game 5
Hurricane (West Virginia) 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 5 0
Tullahoma National (Tennessee) 0 1 1 0 0 x 2 6 0
  Pool Play Game 6
Mobile Westside (Alabama) 0 1 0 1 4 0 6 11 1
Tuckahoe American (Virginia) 4 0 1 0 0 0 5 3 0
  Pool Play Game 7
TCFM Yellow Jackets (South Carolina) 0 4 0 4 0 0 8 9 0
Wilmington (North Carolina) 0 0 0 0 3 1 4 5 0
  Pool Play Game 8
Warner Robins American (Georgia) 0 1 0 0 0 1 2 7 1
Citrus Park (Florida) 1 1 0 1 0 x 3 10 2
  Pool Play Game 9
TCFM Yellow Jackets (South Carolina) 0 1 1 0 0 1 3 3 0
Mobile Westside (Alabama) 0 0 1 0 3 x 4 8 1
  Pool Play Game 10
Warner Robins American (Georgia) 0 3 4 1 0 6 14 11 0
Hurricane (West Virginia) 2 1 0 0 0 0 3 3 0
  Pool Play Game 11
Citrus Park (Florida) 5 0 2 0 1 2 10 8 2
Tullahoma National (Tennessee) 0 0 2 0 0 0 2 4 0
  Pool Play Game 12
Wilmington (North Carolina) 0 1 0 1 2 7 11 10 0
Tuckahoe American (Virginia) 3 0 0 1 0 0 4 5 0
  Semifinal Round
Warner Robins American (Georgia) 1 0 1 0 3 9 14 14 2
Mobile Westside (Alabama) 1 0 2 3 5 5 16 13 2
  Semifinal Round
Citrus Park (Florida) 0 0 0 0 1 4 5 5 1
TCFM Yellow Jackets (South Carolina) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2
  Championship Game
Mobile Westside (Alabama) 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 2
Citrus Park (Florida) 1 0 3 1 6 11 11 0




Toward the past


Toward the present

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