Big inning dooms Lower Sussex in Senior League title game

By Glenn Rolfe
Posted 8/8/22

ROXANA — Tears of heartbreak flowed in the Lower Sussex dugout.

Sunday night’s rematch with the U.S. Southwest was also a repeat, which was bad news for Lower Sussex.

Unbeaten Waco, …

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Big inning dooms Lower Sussex in Senior League title game

Posted

ROXANA — Tears of heartbreak flowed in the Lower Sussex dugout.

Sunday night’s rematch with the U.S. Southwest was also a repeat, which was bad news for Lower Sussex.

Unbeaten Waco, Texas plated nine runs in the sixth inning, wiping out a three-run deficit en route to a 9-5 victory in the Senior League softball World Series championship game.

“It hurts. There is no doubt,” said Lower Sussex manager Sarah Hoban. “These girls wanted this game. The one bad inning ....”

The crushing blow in Waco’s sixth-inning breakout was a grand slam home run by leadoff batter Ky-Li Alonzo. Six of Waco’s eight hits came in that rally, aided by an error and some heads-up base-running.

“We had a bad inning,” said Lower Sussex catcher Lily Hoban.

“Our girls put in a lot of work. You know, we’re playing tough teams,” said Waco manager Chance Bacon. “That Delaware team, hats off to them. They are an excellent team. They did their job holding us that long. But we’ve just got a resilient group. It was a battle.”

It was Waco’s second Senior League Softball World Series championship claimed at Roxana. Waco, from Texas District 9, reigned in 2019, topping a host District III squad in the title game.

“We are the 2019 champions,” said Bacon. “We’ve built a format and these players, their families and their communities bought into that. It just so fun to watch.”

Sunday, Lower Sussex broke on top 2-0 in the bottom of the first on a single by Kinsley Hall, a sacrifice bunt by Sophie Scruci, an intentional walk to Laniyah Lewis, Jada Shaub’s RBI single and a passed ball.

In the home fifth, the lead grew to 3-0. Hall doubled, moved to third on a groundout and scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Hoban.

But things changed dramatically in the sixth. Alonzo singled to start it off.

After a sacrifice bunt, Christie McGuire singled, and Kaidence Quinn and Jayden Sadler ripped back-to-back doubles off Hall, who was replaced by Megan Daisey. That knotted the score at 3-3.

Lindsay Talafuse was hit by a pitch, Miah Corina stroked an RBI single, and an error made it 5-3, setting the stage for Alonzo’s grand slam.

Lower Sussex went down fighting in the seventh. Pinch-hitter Jillian Coulbourn singled and, with one out, Daisey walked.

Hoban’s RBI single and Shaub’s sacrifice fly plated pinch-runners Aniyah Blake and Cierra Lewis. But Waco pitcher Izzy Garcia retired Shaniya Lewis on an infield groundout to end the contest.

Talafuse had the defensive gem of the game, snagging a blast off Shaniya Lewis’ bat while crashing into the centerfield fence early in the contest. If not a home run, it would have at least plated two runs

“They (Waco) made some really great plays,” said manager Hoban.

In their first tournament meeting, Aug. 2 in Pool A play, Lower Sussex also held a 3-0 lead only to see Waco erupt for six runs in the fifth inning in an 8-3 victory.

“At the end of the day I am really proud of every inning they played, except those two,” said manager Hoban. “I’m just proud of these girls. They represented their community, their state and their country very well, and classy. And they never gave up. A lot of great memories were made.”

Amid the heartbreak of being so close the World Series title, Lily Hoban found a silver lining.

“It was still an awesome experience, no matter how it turned out. It was great, just the time I got to spend with the team,” she said.

Staff writer Glenn Rolfe can be reached at grolfe@iniusa.org. Follow @glennrolfeBTBN on Twitter.

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