Warren County South got off to a strong start in the opening game of the Little League Baseball Great Lakes Regional, tallying a 2-1 win over Hamilton (Ohio) West Side on Sunday in Whitesville, Ind.

WC South overcame an early one-run deficit with a two-run rally in the bottom of the third inning, then held off Hamilton over the next three innings to stay unbeaten in the double-elimination tournament.

“It’s the mark of a good team, when you don’t play your best game and you can still sneak out a win,” said Warren County South manager Cary Page, whose team earned the win despite totaling just two hits. “We’re really excited about today. Hopefully our bats will get shipped up here from Kentucky because we forgot them down there today. Hopefully we’ll bring those things with us tomorrow and get back to what we do.”

WC South is vying to be one of two teams from the Great Lakes Regional to earn a spot in the Little League World Series later this month in South Williamsport, Pa. It’s a departure from past years, when only the regional champions would advance, due to travel restrictions that prevent international teams from participating this year.

Still in the winner’s bracket after Sunday’s victory, WC South is aiming to claim the Great Lakes championship. Next up is a 9 a.m. CDT Monday matchup against Illinois state champion Hinsdale (Ill.), which received a first-round bye in the tournament. That game will also be broadcast live on ESPN+.

“We’re trying to figure out as much as we can right now,” Page said. “We’ve seen them play a little bit. We’re ready to go and we’re looking forward to the challenge.”

Hamilton grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning, but WC South responded in the bottom of the third. Ryley Oller led off with a single and Bryant Rogers drew a walk to put runners at first and second. Mason Cosby then laid down a sacrifice bunt to move both runners into scoring position.

With Camden Page batting, Oller scored on a wild pitch that allowed Rogers to move up to third. One out later, Rogers also scored on a wild pitch to put WC South up 2-1.

“We were just patient and made it pay off when we had the opportunity,” Cary Page said.

WC South’s James Yarbrough, who came on in relief of starter Justin Capps with one out in the third, fired scoreless innings in the fourth and fifth before allowing the leadoff runner to reach second on an error in the top of the sixth.

Camden Page came on in relief with the tying run on and no outs, but got back-to-back strikeouts before inducing a game-ending ground ball to lock down the save.

Capps, Yarbrough and Page combined to allow just one run off two hits and three walks while striking out seven.

“Our pitchers were amazing today,” Cary Page said. “They really pounded the strike zone, really good pitches. We threw a lot of strikes. Defensively, we caught the baseball and did exactly what we were supposed to do. These boys were ready to play.”

Dylan Marr and Oller each had a hit to lead WC South.{&end}