John Reed Evans, Jake Cooper and Grant Harris combined for nine of the Tigers’ 11 hits, producing four doubles, two home runs, two walks, 10 runs and seven RBIs.
Cooper, in addition, pitched four strong innings with 88 pitches and eight strikeouts. Gage Morris and Harris pitched the last two innings, combining for 30 pitches and three strikeouts.
The Tigers took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first when Evans scored on a wild pitch after singling and advancing to third base on Harris’ double.
Jacob Frye drove in Jaylen Knowles in the top of the third to pull the Padres into a 1-all tie.
Responding with three runs in the bottom half of the third, the Tigers began to seize control of the game. Evans doubled and then scored on Cooper’s double. Cooper advanced to third on a hit by Harris, and Brandon Hodge’s single made it 3-1. The final run of the inning came courtesy of a Padre wild pitch.
Malik Watts’ single in the fourth, which scored Kurtis Feanny, trimmed the Padres’ deficit to two runs.
However, the Padres could draw no closer as the Tigers scored seven unanswered runs, including three in the bottom of the fourth — two on hits from Cooper and Harris.
In the fifth, the Tigers went up by nine runs as Cooper and Harris hit back-to-back home runs. Micah Tart and Evans drew walks to set up Cooper’s three-run homer. Harris followed up with a solo blast for the final run of the game.
Offensive contributors for the Tigers were Harris, four hits (double, home run), three runs, two RBIs; Cooper, three hits (two doubles, home run), three runs, five RBIs; Evans, two hits (double), two walks, four runs; Morris, double, walk; Hodge, hit, two walks, RBI; Dominique Williams, three walks; and Tart, walk, run.
Watts and Dadrian Dennis led the Padres with two hits each, and Frye, Emmanuel Jones (double) and Brant Smith also added hits, one apiece. Feanny, Knowles and Sabien Lindo were the team’s other baserunners, with each reaching base via walk. Feanny and Knowles scored the Padres’ runs.
Jones was one of three pitchers for the Padres, throwing three innings and 34 pitches with two strikeouts. Other pitchers for the Padres were Frye (one inning, 17 pitches) and Smith (three innings, 83 pitches, two strikeouts).
With the win against the Padres, the Tigers advanced to play the Phillies for the postseason tournament championship, winning 5-3 last Wednesday to force a winner-take-all finale last Thursday, which they also won, 5-2.
In other Cartersville Little League news, the list of home run hitters for the regular season has been announced, with the aforementioned Harris, Cooper and Evans of the Tigers finishing in the top three. Harris led the league with nine home runs, Cooper placed second with six and Evans was tied for third with four. The Padres’ Jones and the Crackers’ Joshua Mayo also hit four homers.
Rounding out the list of home run hitters were Matthew Greene of the Dodgers, Garrett Hite of the Indians and J.P. Martin of the Braves, who each hit two, and Dax Edwards, Ian Inaba and John Gulisano of the Indians, Max Rohland of the Dodgers, Jordon Wells of the Phillies and Williams of the Tigers, with one apiece.