|The Lubbock Western All-Stars team that played in the Little League World Series included, from left, Brock Lilley, Garrett Williams, Tyler Thorne, Gregory Hewett, Jay Pendergrass, Max Randolph, Bryndan Arredondo, Taylor Bridges, Zane Ancell, Stephen Smith and Bo Ricks.
Dream season ends with Western loss
2007 WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. - The Western All-Stars dealt with something on Saturday that was unfamiliar to them - defeat.
The 12-year-olds, most of whom played the past three seasons together, embarked on a dream season that culminated with the first time a team from Lubbock has reached the Little League World Series.
Western marched through the opposition, recording 14 shutouts in tournament play, including one in the World Series.
But they lost Saturday to Warner Robins, Ga., 5-2, in the U.S. Championship Game.
Chad Williams, father of Western ace Garrett and one of the coaches for the team, said some players will be able to shake off the loss.
Western manager Ed Thorne said he felt the better team lost - something Warner Robbins' coach disagreed with.
Western coach Gerald Arredondo said Georgia was the better team - on Saturday.
Arredondo's son, Bryndan, has been one of Western's main offensive weapons throughout the season and in Williamsport.
He came about a foot away from tying the game in the fifth inning, but a diving catch by Georgia shortstop Zane Conlon dashed Western's hopes.
The younger Arredondo put the team's dream season into perspective.
"I wasn't happy, but we made it here," he said. "That's what we were hoping for. It's all right, I guess. I'll always remember it."
After the game, the players went back to their dorms and showered before meeting their families outside the complex.
As the players and coaches walked outside the gate in front of the dorms, the families and friends gave the Western team applause.
For most of the players, defeat didn't appear to have set in yet.
They talked with their friends. Many of the team members' girlfriends came to town for the game, and some of the Western players went to the hill behind the fence at Lamade Stadium to see what it felt like to slide down it.
"I think they're tired," Thorne said. They've worked really hard and they're just really tired."
Despite the fatigue and the disappointment, Western has one more game to play.
The team will face Curacao in the consolation game.
Garrett Williams is expected to take the mound for his final appearance in Williamsport.
"We just kind of ran out of juice," Gerald Arredondo said. "We knew that Georgia team was going to be a good team. ... They put it in play. They're a good team. I said they reminded us a lot of ourselves. We didn't hit the ball and they did."
Thorne said after the game he was still running through plays in his head to figure out what went wrong.
Georgia manager Mickey Lay said his team relished the roll of the underdog and knew going into the game that most perceived Texas as the favorite.
When told of Thorne's comment that the better team lost, Lay said, "Look at the scoreboard.
" ... I'm sorry. We kicked some butt," he said. "I'm not going to hold my head. They are a good team, but you know, you need the right chemistry; you need the right touch at the right time to make it happen. We're a real loose group ...
"I don't believe you go touting how strong you are. I believe you prove it on the field. That's how you know who the better team is, that's why you play the game."