Members of the Wilson City Little League Ages 9-10 All-Stars gather after their 11-9 victory over East Surry on Wednesday night in Forest City. Wilson will face Greenville Tar Heel on Thursday in another must-win contest.
FOREST CITY — For a team that has been on the brink of elimination from nearly the beginning of the North Carolina Little League Ages 9-10 state tournament, the Wilson City Little League All-Stars weren’t going to sweat a six-run deficit Wednesday in the losers bracket final against East Surry.
Wilson rallied to take an 11-9 victory and will face Greenville Tar Heel in Wednesday’s championship game. Wilson, which lost 9-6 to Greenville in the first game of the tournament Saturday morning, will have to win not once but twice Wednesday to claim the state title since Greenville is unbeaten in the tourney.
In the losers’ bracket final, Wilson stared at a 6-0 mountain climb put forth by East Surry in the first two innings.
Seth Evans swatted a grand slam to put Wilson on the scoreboard in the top of the third, but that was just the warm-up act for a WCLL team that piled on four more runs to take an 8-4 lead.
“It completely turned the energy around in the game,” said Wilson head coach Chris Bass, who is assisted by Rob Ferrell and Chris Radford. “Those kids fight, man. They never hung their heads and stayed in the game.”
Evans drilled a solo home run in the fifth to give WCLL a 9-7 lead but East Surry rallied for two runs in the bottom of the fourth to tie the score at 9-9.
But Wilson wasn’t done scoring. Carter Adams delivered a single to right field to bring in Connor Radford with the go-ahead run in the fifth and, in the sixth, Evan Ferrell singled in DeAndre Sellers for what amounted to an insurance run.
Evans made sure of that by getting the last six outs of the game on 18 pitches after taking over for Radford, who got the win.
Evans finished with five RBIs while Simon Quinn doubled in a pair. Radford, Adams, Sellers and Ferrell had two each of Wilson’s 13 hits, a goodly amount to offset its five errors.
At stake beyond Thursday’s N.C. Little League Ages 9-10 championship is a berth in the Little League Southeast Region Tournament of State Champions, to be held in Greenville later this month.
Wilson played in a TOSC in West Virginia in 2013 before winning in 2014, after claiming the second of three straight age-group state titles with the team ultimately becoming the first from the WCLL to play in a Little League Southeast Regional tournament. Bass was the coach with his oldest son, Tyson, on that team. Now his younger son, Ryan, and his teammates have put themselves in position to follow in those footsteps.