News quickly spread in the Patriots Park parking lot Saturday that the bus had arrived.
Family and friends who had gathered to greet Columbia County's Dixie Youth "O" Zone team set off their vehicle's panic alarms as the bus approached.
The celebration was on for the county's third "O" Zone World Series champion team in the past four years.
Since the "O" Zone World Series was established in 2006, a team from Columbia County has won each year except 2008.
Last year's team had many of the same players who made the trip to Texarkana, Ark., for the 2009 World Series.
The group of primarily 12-year-olds breezed through the tournament field, dropping one game to Texas.
Georgia's squad beat Texas twice the final day, including a 3-2 win in the final for the championship.
"We went out there and played our hearts out and brought home a trophy," said second baseman Conner Murray, who hit his first home run during the tournament.
The win earned the team a steak dinner at Texas Roadhouse. The next day's headline in the Texarkana Gazette proclaimed "Georgia's Glory."
Georgia coach John Sandlin said most of the players were subdued as they boarded the charter bus Friday morning for the trip back.
"They're tired right now because they stayed up all night," Sandlin said by phone Friday. "But they're pretty excited. They had a great trip."
Sandlin's group responded to its only loss in the tournament with a 14-1 beating of Mississippi.
On Thursday, Georgia beat Texas 19-5 in the semifinal and survived the final after allowing a run in the sixth. Texas stranded two runners in the final inning.
Georgia pitcher Raekwon Bennett pitched five innings, the maximum he was allowed, and struck out 10.
"It was just the experience of a lifetime," Bennett said.
Many of the players said they expected the outcome.
Sandlin could have found something to say about all his players.
"They played good baseball," he said. "Everybody on this team did something over a week period of time to really help this team."
With the win, Columbia County's team will head to Memphis, Tenn., to compete against the top teams from eight youth baseball organizations.
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