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by Mike Weber
Portland, Ore. — The Ohio state and Central Region champion Tallmadge 12-and-younger softball team lost its first contest in the Little League Softball World Series 6-3 to the Southeast champions of Columbus, Ga., Aug. 10 in Portland, Ore.
Tallmadge (2-1 LLSWS, 12-2 overall), led by head coach Nick Dadich, is scheduled to play its fourth Pool A contest against the Latin America champions from Maunabu, Puerto Rico. The game is set to begin at 7 p.m. (Pacific time), according to the Little League Softball World Series website.
If Tallmadge beats Puerto Rico (1-2), it advances to the nationally televised (ESPN 2) semifinals Aug. 12 and would play at 9 p.m.
If Tallmadge loses, then the complicated tiebreaker formula would determine which teams advance. Puerto Rico also lost to Georgia in pool play 1-0 Aug. 9.
"We're in the exact same position that we were in at regionals," said Dadich. "We lost our third game and then we had to win our fourth game to advance and then we won three in row to win regionals.
"I absolutely feel that we're capable to doing the same thing again here at the world series. If I didn't believe that this team wasn't capable of winning three in a row then I wouldn't be coaching them.
"We played average [Aug. 10] and we should've played better against an excellent Georgia team. We just made too many errors, but I believe we'll play much better [Aug. 11]."
Tallmadge went up 1-0 in the first inning, but Georgia responded with a two-run second to take a 2-1 edge and then got two in the third to build a 4-1 lead.
Tallmadge narrowed it to 4-3 in the fourth when Lizzie Bickar scored after she drew a bases-loaded walk and Lexi Paulo- Roberts later scored on a wild pitch.
Georgia (3-0 LLSBWS, 17-2) continued its momentum in the fifth and plated two more runs to go up 6-3.
Tallmadge had a final chance in the top of the sixth, but its offense sputtered as the first two batters were unable to get key hits to put runners on base.
Lauren Tecca (3-for-4 with two runs batted in) drilled a two-out double to center field to get into scoring position and possibly give Tallmadge a chance, but she was left stranded as the game concluded with a Georgia victory.
Tallmadge starting pitcher Hallie Mullett struck out three, walked two and allowed two hits in four innings in the pitching circle.
Reliever Emily Pratt pitched the fifth and allowed a walk and two hits. Autumn Malicoat was 2-for-3 with two singles to contribute to the nine total Tallmadge hits.