Warner Robins Little League has been here before. In fact, the team from Georgia has now represented the Southeast Region in the Little League World Series three times over the past five years. Of course, that doesn't mean the experience is lost on people like coach Buddy Deal:
"I mean, it’s a dream for me," Deal said.
Warner Robins, which is represents the city by the same name with a population of just over 48,000, claims quite a bit of Little League history. The team won the LLWS in 2007, beating Japan 3-2. It also claims to be the birthplace of tee-ball, and former resident Claude Lewis is known as the "Father of Tee-Ball." It is also the only city to have produced LLWS champions in both softball and baseball, as their softball team first won in 2009. That softball team also won the following year, making them one of only four Little League teams to win back-to-back titles.
To get to this year's LLWS, Warner Robins had to score a comeback victory against Tampa in the Southeast championship game. Warner Robins entered the sixth inning trailing Tampa 2-0, but scored four runs in the final inning to punch their ticket to South Williamsport, Pa. In that decisive inning, Jacob Giles knocked in the first two runs and hit what turned out to be a game-winning, two-out, two-RBI double.
Warner Robins will open the LLWS against Southwest champion Lafayette, La. The game starts at 8 p.m. Eastern and will be broadcast on ESPN and ESPN3.com.