Northern falls in Regional semifinals

WARNER ROBINS, Ga. (WTVM) – The second chance run for the Northern All-Stars is over.

Tuckahoe American rallied for six runs in the bottom of the sixth to beat Northern 8-7 and give the Virginia state champs a berth in the Little League Southeast Regional finals.

The big hits in the sixth were Liam Deeson bases-loaded double that tied the game at seven, and Drew Larsen's double to bring Deeson home with the winning run.

Brent Epps helped stake Northern to the early lead with an RBI groundout in the first inning and a solo homer in the third that snapped a 1-1 tie, while dominating on the mound, giving up two runs on two hits in four innings while striking out eight.

Lucas Sheppard homered in the top of the sixth to give Northern a 7-2 advantage, a cushion that seemed to give Northern a safe lead until Tuckahoe exploded to win the game.

" You know, we had a big lead and we just couldn't hold it," said Northern manager Randy Morris. "We kind of ran out of pitching  and we've got some guys who don't pitch a lot and we brought them in, and they did the best they could, but that's a good hitting team."

The players were able to put their playoff run in perspective after getting into the tournament last week following the disqualification of state tournament winner Peachtree City National.

"We came out with all we got," pitcher-first baseman Zach Garcia said. "I mean, we shouldn't have been here in the first place because we lost the state championship, and God was letting us have a second chance. It was a good game, we battled until the end."

"We had an unbelievable run," agreed Epps. "For a team that wasn't supposed to be here, we really did good."

Third baseman Jon Runyon had the final word about what their comeback season said about the squad.

"It says we've got a bunch of heart and character on this team, and I'm going to miss it."