SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. – Make it three straight Little League World Series championships for the United States.
Dalton Carriker homered to right in the bottom of the eighth inning as Warner Robins, Ga., beat Tokyo 3-2 in a thrilling title game on Sunday.
The 12-year-old Carriker raised his arms in celebration after hitting a 2-1 pitch from Japan's Junsho Kiuchi over the right-field stands. "USA! USA!" cried the Georgia-partisan crowd.
Columbus, Ga., won the crown last year, and Ewa Beach, Hawaii, in 2005.
The jubilant kids from Warner Robins hugged Carriker as he reached the plate. A relieved manager Mickey Lay lost his hat after joining his team in celebration following a tense game marked by excellent pitching.
Georgia reliever Kendall Scott struck out 10 and allowed one hit over five-plus innings to quiet Japan's bats after Georgia fell behind 2-0 early. Zane Conlon got the last out in the top of the eighth after Scott left the game.
That set up Carriker's game-winning homer. The slugger, hitting .769 entering Sunday's game, was 0-for-2 with a walk when he came up in the eighth.
There was no doubt about his opposite-field shot, which easily cleared the hedges beyond the right-field fence.
After exchanging handshakes with players from Japan, Georgia players took hold of the championship banner, their proud parents snapping pictures from the stands.
Warner Robins kept the trophy in the state.
The previous two Georgia teams to advance to South Williamsport also won the title, including Columbus last year and East Marietta in 1983.
Also, the United States' three-year title streak is the longest since 1959-1966, an eight-year stretch of American victories.