FOREST CITY — The East Surry 9-10 Little League All-Stars ended their season on Wednesday night with an 11-9 loss to the Wilson All-Stars and a third-place finish in the North Carolina Little League State Championship Series at Summey Park in Forest City.
The Cardinals, who lost 8-4 to Greenville on Tuesday after winning their first two games of the series, appeared well on their way to a championship-round rematch in the early going against Wilson. East Surry started the game strong and led 3-0 after one inning of play and 6-0 after two complete. However, as had happened the night before, one bad inning did most of the damage. In the top of the third inning, Wilson plated eight runs and turned what looked like a one-sided game into a slugfest.
Down 8-6 going to their half of the third, the Cardinals got one of those runs back. Wilson scored in the top of the fourth to lead 9-7, but East Surry got its bats going again in its half of the inning. Two runs crossed home plate, and the score was tied at 9 with two innings left in the contest.
At this point, the Cardinals finally ran out of gas. Wilson scored in the top of the fifth to regain the lead at 10-9, added another run in the sixth to lead by two, and East Surry was unable to score in either of its final two trips to the plate.
Wilson will face Greenville for the state title starting today, needing to beat the latter twice to take the crown. The East Surry All-Stars end the season with a 7-3 record.
Pennson Badgett had three hits to lead the East Surry offense, which had 10 hits on the evening as compared to 11 for Wilson. Pennson and Tripp McMillen each drove in a pair of runs for the Cardinals.
Pennson, Zach Keener and Braxton Davis did most of the pitching for East Surry, with Pennson striking out two in two innings of work.
The team’s full roster for the District 2 Tournament and the state finals included Carter “Cotton” Motsinger, Pennson “P-Daddy” Badgett, Vincent “Ace” Pannutti, Tripp “Pig” McMillen, Luke “Crazy Chicken” Bruner, Braxton “Cheeks” Davis, Lucas “Crush” Johnson, Porter “Coco” Gibson, Zach “Hack” Keener, Andrew “Panda” Martin, Michael “Mad Dog’ Fischer, Ian “Angler” Hooker and Lucas “Red” East.