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Perryville edges Halfway in Maryland Junior Softball thriller

July 21, 2013|By TIM KOELBLE | koelble@herald-mail.com
  • Halfway's Cierra Beaver pitches to Perryville during Sunday's Maryland State Junior Softball Tournament game in Sharpsburg.
By Colleen McGrath/Staff Photographer

SHARPSBURG — There were many opportunities for a clutch hit to make a big difference throughout Sunday’s game between Halfway and Perryville in the Maryland Junior State Softball Tournament.

When Carly White was faced with her chance, she made good on it with a one-out single in the bottom of the seventh inning that gave Perryville a 5-4 victory over Halfway at the Sharpsburg Little League complex.

The win puts Perryville in the winners’ bracket final, where it will face South Maryland on Monday night at 7:30 after Halfway meets South Caroline in a losers’ bracket game at 5.

“We just have a longer road ahead of us now,” said Halfway manager Mike Renn. “We’ve got pitchers ready to go.”

Trailing 4-1, Halfway left runners stranded at second and third without scoring in the fourth inning, before posting three runs in the fifth to tie the game at 4.

Alexis Hubbard opened the inning with a single, and two walks, two errors and a groundout produced three runs for Halfway — though Halfway again left two runners on base.

“We had opportunities but the bats didn’t get the clutch hit,” Renn said. “We can’t pass up those chances. But we fought hard to battle back and I’m proud of the girls.”

Megan Black hit a run-scoring single in the first inning for a 1-0 Halfway lead, and the score stood until Perryville scored four runs in the third off Halfway’s Cierra Beaver.

Perryville left the bases loaded without scoring in the second, but made good on its chances in the fourth, highlighted by Ellen Little’s two-run single.

Emily Phillips seemed to get stronger in the circle for Perryville, while Emily Talbert — in relief of Beaver in the fourth inning — kept Perryville in check until the seventh.

Phillips walked to open the seventh and was sacrificed to second by Erin Murphy, setting up White’s game-winning single that was stroked to left center.

Halfway had only three hits but had plenty of base runners with Phillips issuing five walks.

Perryville, who has several girls back from the 2012 11-12 state championship team, had eight hits — three by White and two by Brooke Reynolds.

“(The loss) is a tough pill to swallow,” said Renn. “Phillips threw hard and we chased after her pitches. We lost to a good team.”

South Caroline 4, Northern Calvert 3

Some late-game heroics kept District 6 champion South Caroline in the tournament as it edged District 7 champion Northern Calvert in a losers’ bracket game.

South Caroline trailed 3-2 heading into the sixth inning. Leadoff batter Sam Hathoway worked a walk and Sarah Plugge followed with a single, sending Hathoway to third base. Brea Bishop brought them both in with the game-winning two-run single.

“Last night we kind of got caught off guard,” said South Caroline manager Jimmy Johansen, whose team lost to Perryville 16-2 on Saturday. “But we worked through it and got the butterflies out of our stomachs. This is the team that won our district. We know what we’re capable of.”

Northern Calvert took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Morgan Donaldson scored on a bases-loaded walk before Rayanna Albaugh’s two-run single plated Madie Cihocki and Chloe Kissal.

It seemed as though the lead would hold up thanks to the pitching of Kaitlyn Nutwell, who threw a complete game with eight strikeouts.

However, South Caroline’s Morgan Willoughby matched her stride for stride with five strikeouts through five innings before giving way to Bishop, who pitched two innings of scoreless relief with five strikeouts.

“There’s a lot of contrast with Willoughby and Bishop. What one doesn’t have, the other does,” said Johansen. I’m fortunate as a manager to have such talent on the mound.”

South Caroline found little chinks in Northern Calvert’s armor to cut the deficit to one. Willoughby plated Bishop with a groundout in the top of the second, before Hailey Sears’ bunt single scored Jamie Johansen in the third.

“This team has improved tremendously. We went from not hitting to everyone swinging the bat,” said Johansen. “Their talent is coming out more every game. The fundamentals are starting to pay off.”

— Will Robinson

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