ORANGE, Conn. — The St. Marys Junior League All-Star softball team beat the heat, and a tough New York team Saturday to complete a 2-0 start in pool play at the east Regional Tournament in Connecticut.
St. Marys opened the event with a 6-1 victory against New Jersey Friday, then needed a late rally in triple-digit heat Saturday to force extra innings against New York before pulling out a 5-4 victory in eight innings.
The Pennsylvania state champs jumped on New York early Saturday for two runs in the bottom of the first inning.
Kendall Young got things started with a two-out single and went to third on a double by Kara Hanslovan. Lindsay Reiter followed with a walk to load the bases before the center fielder dropped a fly ball hit by Emily Mourer. The error allowed both Young and Hanslovan to score.
Young made that 2-0 lead standup through four innings, as New York managed just two hits and six base runners during that stretch. It got just one runner to third though, as Young stranded four runners in scoring position.
St. Marys couldn’t add to its lead after the first though, as it had a couple runners thrown out on the bases while stranding two.
New York finally got its offense going in the top of the fifth, scoring four runs on four hits and an error to take a 4-2 lead. Young settled down from there, though, and retired 10 of the final 11 batters she faced in the game.
St. Marys then rallied in the bottom of the sixth, plating two run to pull even at 4-4.
Reiter drew a one-out walk, while Mourer followed with a single. Both runners moved up on a groundout before Sydney Alexander delivered a huge two-run single to tie things up.
The game eventually went to extra innings, where Young retired New York in order, including two strikeouts, in the top of the eighth.
St. Marys then used some more two-out magic in the bottom of the inning to pull out the thrilling victory.
Reiter was in the middle of things again, this time smacking a two-out single. Shannon Kaiser came on to run for Reiter and scored from first when Mourer blasted a walk-off double to center field.
Mourer and Young each finished with two hits in the game.
Young went the distance for the win. She allowed four runs, two earned, on six hits in eight innings of work. She struck out 10 and walked four.
In Friday’s opener, a four-run bottom of the third proved to be the difference as it broke open a 1-1 game. Young kept New Jersey off the board from there as she finished off a complete-game four-hitter. She allowed the one unearned run while striking out 12 and walking three.
Young was backed by a balanced offensive attack, one that saw eight different players collect a hit. Emma Sorg, the No. 9 batter, was the lone player on either side with two hits in the game.
St. Marys opened the scoring with a run in the bottom of the first.
Kaiser led off the inning with a single and went to second on a groundout. Young then ripped a single to plate Kaiser to make it 1-0.
New Jersey promptly tied things up in the second when a leadoff error led to the team’s lone run.
The game remained knotted 1-1 until the bottom of the third when St. Marys’ put together its big four-run rally.
Sorg jump-started things with a bunt single. Singles by Lydia Anderson and Hanslovan loaded the bases before Sorg scored on a passed ball. Young then reached on a fielder’s choice that saw everyone reach safely to reload the bases.
New Jersey then made what looked to be a double play when it turned a double play on a popup off the bat of Olivia Eckels. However, St. Marys had a pair of players come through in the clutch with back-to-back hits with two outs.
Emily Mourer had the first of those hits, a single that scored Hanslovan. Reiter followed with a two-run single that made it 5-1, although Reiter was thrown out tryng to go to second on the play to end the inning.
St. Marys pushed its final run across in the fifth when Ava Buzard drew a one-out walk and later came home on a sacrifice fly to center by Hanslovan.
St. Marys is off today and finishes up pool play with a game Monday against Delaware at 9 a.m.
St. Marys was scheduled to play four pool play games, but the Maryland state champs (Havre de Grace) were disqualified at the pre-tournament meeting due to an disagreement by local/state and regional officials over league boundaries and where two of the team’s players came from.