Harford County's run in the Cal Ripken World Series came to an end Friday evening when its host team, the Hickory Hornets, lost 7-5 to West Raleigh, N.C., in the United States Championship played at Cal Sr.'s Yard, the signature field of the Ripken Experience powered by Under Armour complex in Aberdeen.

West Raleigh will play Mexico for the World Championship Saturday night at 8 p.m. The game will be played at Cal Sr.'s Yard. Mexico beat Japan, 10-7, in Friday's second game.

"What an experience, to have your whole team come here and play very well, it's awesome, " Garrett McIlhenney said. "No Harford team has ever made it this far and it's just breathtaking."

Philip Winfield echoed his teammates thoughts.

"Feels really good, I mean no Harford team has ever done anything like this before and we're setting records as an Harford team and its a heck of an accomplishment," Winfield said.

West Raleigh, which repeats as U.S. Champs, used a five-run rally in the third inning that proved to be the difference in the win.

Paul Rider, a defensive substitution in the top half of the inning, had the critical blow: a three-run, home run that just got over the wall in left. The homer put West Raleigh ahead, 6-4, and they never trailed again.

"I was very surprised, at first I thought it was a double off the wall," Rider said off his big hit. "I saw it was gone and I was very happy."

Rider noted it was his first home run of the series and third of the season.

Koen Moreno and Garrett McCraw (RBI) both doubled and scored in the inning, while Penn Sealey (RBI) and Nolan McClean added singles and were aboard for Rider's long ball.

The West Raleigh rally came on the heels of Hickory's biggest inning, which was the top of the third.

Philip Winfield led off with a colossal shot to left, a high drive that cleared the playground equipment that sits beyond the left field wall.

"It felt really good because that was my first home run of this whole tournament and just to see a pitch like that come right down the center of the plate, you can't let it go by, you gotta hit it," Winfield said.

Winfield's blast gave Harford a 2-1 lead.

West Raleigh starting and winning pitcher McClean got the next two batters out, but a walk to Bobby Duffy extended the inning. Catcher Tyler Leach stepped in and hit a 2-2 pitch over the wall in left. The two-run blast, his first of the series as well, put Hickory ahead, 4-1.

"It felt great getting my first home run of the tournament and it put our team ahead," Leach said.

Trailing 6-4 after West Raleigh's big inning, Hickory scored a single run in the fifth to pull within a run, 6-5.

Colton Knoble singled, went to second on a wild pitch and to third on a passed ball. Leach, meanwhile, drew a one-out walk. Leach stole second and when the catcher's throw to second sailed into center field, Knoble raced home with the run.

West Raleigh added a run in the fifth as well. Matthew Willadsen drew a leadoff walk from reliever Hunter Wright. Wright, who was relieved by Tyler Schimming, was on the mound for West Raleigh's big inning.

West Raleigh proceeded to load the bases and Rider added his fourth RBI of the game with an infield base hit.