By Doug Gorman
The city of McDonough might just be earning the reputation as the best baseball town in America.
Last month, the Henry County Warhawks captured the Class AAAA state baseball championship with a victory over Lee County.
Then Sunday afternoon, a group of players several years younger, kept McDonough's championship feeling alive, beating Gresham Park 12-1 in the annual AABC Roberto Clemente 7-8-year-old World Series.
It's the third time a McDonough team has brought home an AABC World Series crown in the last eight years.
The Dawgs' Carter Perkins and Dalton Kuhn won trophies for their MVP efforts.
"It was very exciting," said Kuhn. "We played good defense and hit the ball."
Perkins said he also enjoyed playing for the Dawgs this summer and winning one of the trophies for his outstanding performance.
"It was exciting winning the hitting trophy," he said. "I'm glad we won.".
The Dawgs didn't have to travel too far as the double-elimination event was played at Richard Craig Park in their own backyard.
Craig, the man the park is named for, still serves as the Mayor of McDonough, and was on hand to congratulate the champions on Sunday afternoon.
The victory left Craig beaming with pride.
"The entire city of McDonough has to be proud of this baseball team's accomplishments," Craig said. "I'm proud of the hospitality the city showed to our out-of- town guest during the tournament."
The Dawgs finished the season 68-6, which also included winning the AABC state tournament.
"I can't be prouder of the way we hit the ball," said McDonough head coach Randy Lee. "We played long ball throughout the tournament and that was a key."
This year's AABC tournament was delayed by a day on Thursday when a thunderstorm moved into the area, but the late start didn't bother McDonough. The Dawgs beat Clarkstown, New York 15-4 and Gresham Park 9-1 in the first meeting between the two teams on Friday.
The Dawgs then kept on rolling Saturday, defeating Sun Valley, Calif. 9-7 and Puerto Rico 8-0.
In Sunday's championship game, McDonough led from starting to finish after taking a 1-0 lead in the top of the first.
Perkins added to his MVP statistics with a single to drive in Kevin Teasley. It stayed a pitcher's duel until the bottom of the fourth when McDonough sent 10 batters to the plate and scored four runs for a 5-0 lead.
Daino Deas delivered the big blow of the inning, smashing a three-run homer.
Gresham Park had its chances early, but could produce any runs.
Ricky Butts doubled in the second for the White Sox first hit of the game, but he was left stranded on base.
The Dawgs took advantage of several walks and base hits by Perkins and Jordan Schmidts in the fifth to help produce three more runs and give McDonough a 8-1 lead.
McDonough added insurance to its half of the scoreboard with Kuhn's grand slam in the top of the sixth.
Gresham Park scored its only run of the game when T.J. Neal smashed an RBI double in the fifth..
The celebration isn't over yet for the Dawgs.
The World Series champions have been promised a victory parade around McDonough and a trip to the state capital to meet Governor Sonny Perdue.