Carriker gives Georgia push over Massachusetts for semifinal berth


SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- Straight-faced Payton Purvis was
trying to answer a question when he heard Dalton Carriker giggling
to his right.

"Poor Payton," the 12-year-old Carriker said, shaking his
head. His eyes nearly welled up with tears from laughing after he
and Purvis helped Warner Robins, Ga., beat Walpole, Mass., 8-1 on
Wednesday at the Little League World Series.

Georgia (2-1) clinched a berth in the U.S. semifinals and
learned later Wednesday that its opponent would be Chandler, Ariz.,
which defeated Coon Rapids, Minn. 9-2.

Purvis, who drove in two runs with a single, said the team's
accomplishments haven't sunk in yet.

"It will really settle in when the whole tourney is over and
you realize you are one of the four best teams in the country,"
the 12-year-old outfielder said.

That's when Carriker and teammate Micah Wells burst into
laughter, burying their faces in their hands. Purvis stared at them
and feigned a punch at Wells, sitting next to him.

"Stop laughing," Purvis said. "You're making me laugh!"

Carriker was the star with a three-run home run in the second
that landed far beyond the 225-foot sign down the right-field line
at Volunteer Stadium, bouncing in front of a driveway.

Carriker also struck out seven in four-plus innings, finishing a
game that had been suspended in the top of the second inning
Tuesday night because of rain.

The youngster spent a restless Tuesday night in his dorm room
after manager Mickey Lay told him before their 11:30 p.m. bedtime
that he would take over in relief when the game resumed.

"I couldn't sleep," he said. "I was ready to throw."

Walpole mounted a brief threat in the third after Patrick Hayes
Jr. doubled, hustled to third on a sacrifice fly and scored on a
double by Matthew Bender to cut the lead to 6-1.

But Carriker got the next hitter, John Adams, to ground out to
end the inning. Walpole (1-2) was eliminated.

"Even though we lost, I think the 13 kids fulfilled their dream
by making the Little League World Series," Walpole manager Brian
Oberacker said.