GREENVILLE, N.C. — Delmar likes to think of itself as “the little town too big for one state.”
Little League fans in both Maryland and Delaware were rooting for Delmar in the Little League softball World Series championship game on Monday afternoon.
But it was Texas that left with the title after out-lasting Delmar, 5-4, in seven innings to capture the crown in Little League’s age division for 11-12 year olds.
Texas teams have now won this tournament 14 times since it was started in 1974. Delmar was trying to become just the third Mid-Atlantic squad to win the championship.
After beating Asia-Pacific, 11-0, in the semifinals on Sunday, Delmar manager Mark Naugle knew it was a special accomplishment just to make the finals.
“Two months ago, I would have said we’d never been dreaming of being here,” he said at the time. “But they’ve worked so hard and fought all along the way. We’ve won some close games.
“We’re just excited to be here. Tomorrow night (in the title game), it doesn’t matter, we’re champions.”
Delmar took an early 3-0 lead only to have Texas answer with four runs in the top of the fourth. But the Maryland state champions sent the contest to extra innings after coming up with a run in the bottom of the fifth.
In the top of the seventh, Texas bunched together a hit batter, an intentional walk, a fielder’s choice and a sacrfice fly to score the winning run.
Delmar got a runner to second base in the bottom of the seventh but couldn’t get her home.
The title game was a matchup of the tournament’s two top pitchers. Delmar’s Macy Rickards threw a five-hitter with five walks, a hit batter and 11 strikeouts.
The right-hander allowed only two runs in the first four games for Delmar (4-1). For the tournament, Rickards gave up just seven runs (four earned), 13 hits with 57 strikeouts in 30 innings.
For Texas, left-hander Zaneria Hughes allowed seven hits with four walks and seven strikeouts.
Rickards, who singled home a run, and Averi Naugle (2 run) had two hits apiece for Delmar. Ella Twilley had a big two-run double to give Delmar its 3-0 lead in the second.
In the fifth, Naugle singled, stole second, was bunted to third and raced home after a groundout to tie the contest. Cheyanne Willey and Olivia Smith also scored runs for Delmar.
Kaitlyn Lowe had a pair of RBI for Texas. It was a Hughes sacrifice fly that scored Hayden Rios from third with the winning run.
The start of the game was moved up seven hours to noon because of expected rain on Monday. The contest was then quickly delayed by rain in the first inning.