BRISTOL - Connecticut champion Fairfield Girls Softball Little League battled to the end of the game, but Frankford, Delaware’s Lower Sussex Little League rode a 13-3 advantage in hits to a 3-1 victory in an elimination game Thursday afternoon in the Little League Softball Eastern Regional.
It took nine pitches to retire the final Connecticut batter, Allie Ortiz; and while the out eliminated Connecticut, Ortiz hanging tough against Delaware starting pitcher Camryn Ehlers - who had shut down the lineup - again proved the fight in Connecticut.
“I wanted her out there, but I knew she was hanging it on her shoulders,” Connecticut coach Jim Andretta said. “She wanted to carry this team and I didn’t want to see that result. I was hoping that she would pull it through and we could keep rolling through the lineup and maybe pull the miracle out. But she’s a gamer, that kid. Every day she carries this team for us and I’m super impressed with her and the rest of them.”
Delaware’s top of the lineup had seven of the team’s 13 hits and a pair of RBI from Kinsley Hall and Laniya Lewis.
Ehlers pitched the entire game, allowing one earned run and striking out three, while walking one.
Connecticut missed a chance for more runs in the bottom of the third inning, with Chelsea Villar at the plate and Elena Ohe on first base with no outs.
Villar ripped a liner to the right side of the infield, but Delaware second baseman Hall was in position to take away the big hit and turned it into a double play, throwing out Ohe at first.
Ohe, Villar and Anna Gedacht had the three hits in the game for Connecticut.
On the mound, Gedacht went the distance, giving up three earned runs on 13 hits and one walk.
Gedacht’s pitching in tough spots with runners on base and the fielding behind her helping escape jams kept Connecticut in the game, as Delaware left eight runners on base.
“I looked up on the board and I think it was the fifth inning and I said to myself, ‘10 hits and three runs,’” Andretta said. “That’s great on our part. I mean, think if we had actually been making some of the plays that were a little tighter. If Chelsea’s breaks through to the outfield we’re in this game, but it didn’t fall our way and a lot them fell their way. I tip my cap to them. They’re a great team. All four teams left here are great teams. We deserved to be here. We got slightly outmatched today and you know what, we just don’t live to see another one here.”
Even though its run has ended, Connecticut showed how tough it is all tournament long and held a plus-three run differential over its opponents in the four games played. Connecticut was the only team to have three of its games decided by two runs or less, but was on the losing end of two of them.
“They’re just relentless,” Andretta said. “They never gave up. They always wanted to be on the field and always wanting to hit. Everybody taking it almost personal when they’re not part of the game or not part of something, because they solely want to do the best for their teammates, for their coach, for their friends.”