ORANGE, Conn. — The St. Marys Junior League All-Star softball team saw its summer run come to an end Wednesday with a heartbreaking 3-1, 8-inning loss to New York in the semifinals of the East Region Tournament.
The meeting was the second of the tournament between the two teams, with each going down to the every. New York also won the first meeting, 3-2, on Friday in St. Marys’ opening game in Connecticut.
Extra innings were needed Wednesday to decide which team earned a spot in the East Region championship series. And unfortunately for St. Marys, that proved to be New York when it scored twice in the top of the eighth to pull out the two-run victory.
New York’s Leah Brennan reached on an error to lead off the top of the eighth and took second on another erorr before and scoring on a double by Emily Grall. Miscues proved costly on the day for a normally sure-fielding St. Marys squad, which committed five errors that led to two unearned runs.
Pitcher Isabella Scolaro added a big insurance run for herself when she blasted a double two batters to plate Grall to make it 3-1.
St. Marys’ Kendall Young reached on an error to open the bottom of the eighth, but Scolaro halted any rally there to close out her complete-game effort. She gave up one earned run on seven hits while striking out six and walking none.
Young ended up the hard-luck loser as she allowed three runs, one earned, on five hits while striking out nine and walking none.
The St. Marys ace struck out a total of 18 batters and walked just three between the two games against New York, but New York capitalize on errors to score two unearned runs in each matchup on its way to reaching the championship series.
New York (6-0) was set to battle Rhode Island, also 6-0 at the event, for the right to go to the Junior League World Series in Kirkland, Wash. Game 1 of that best-of-3 series was set to play played later Wednesday evening, with Game 2 and Game 3 (if necessary) being held today.
Young opened the game strong Wednesday, retiring nine of the first 10 batters she faced _ with the lone blemish being a two-out error in the top of the third.
St. Marys grabbed the lead during that stretch.
After stranding two runners in the first, and another in the second, St. Marys finally found the scoreboard in the bottom of the third.
Morgan Wolf led off the inning with a single, then took second on a passed ball. After Scolaro got Olivia Eckels and Young to each pop up to shortstop, Joey Forster came through with a clutch single to plate Wolf to make it 1-0.
New York got that run right back in the top of the fourth Carrie Reilly reached on a one-out error and later scored on a two-out error to knot the score at 1-1.
St. Marys tried to answer back in the bottom of the fourth.
Lindsey Reiter singled with one out and went to third on a two-out single by Emma Sorg. However, Scolaro stopped the rally there when she got Wolf to hit into a fielder’s choice to end the inning.
Young doubled with one out in the bottom of the fifth, but St. Marys couldn’t score to take the lead. Young then stranded a New York runner at third in the top of the seventh to help send the game to extra innings before New York pulled out the win in the eighth.
St. Marys finished All-Star play with a 12-3 record, with all three losses coming at the regional tournament in Connecticut. Outside of the two setbacks to New York, St. Marys also lost to 4-0 to Delaware in its final pool play game on Monday.