Lower Sussex advances to Senior League championship game

By Glenn Rolfe
Posted 8/6/22

ROXANA — Southeast or Southwest? It really doesn’t matter.

Lower Sussex Little League’s second conquest of Curacao Latin America, a 9-2 verdict Saturday night, catapulted …

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Lower Sussex advances to Senior League championship game

Posted

ROXANA — Southeast or Southwest? It really doesn’t matter.

Lower Sussex Little League’s second conquest of Curacao Latin America, a 9-2 verdict Saturday night, catapulted the tournament host  into Sunday’s Senior League Softball World Series championship game.

The 7 p.m. title game will pit Lower Sussex, now 5-1 in the tournament, against the U.S. Southwest.  The contest is being televised nationally on ESPN-2.

U.S. Southwest, from Texas, is 6-0 after beating U.S. Southeast, 9-2, later in the evening on Saturday.   Southwest handed Lower Sussex its only loss on Aug. 2, an 8-3 verdict in which the District III champions held a 3-0 lead.

Before the other semifinal game was finished, Lower Sussex manager Sarah Hoban said she had no preference on the title-game opponent.

"It doesn’t matter at all. We’re super excited. The girls have been dreaming about this and preparing for this since they were 10 years old,” said Hoban. “We’re just excited to go out there and play our game.”

Lower Sussex, which blanked Latin America 7-0 in Pool A play on Aug. 3, never trailed in their rematch, building a 6-0 lead through three innings.

On the night, Lily Hoban drove in three runs, two with a second-inning homer, and winning pitcher Kinsley Hall scored three times and drove in two runs with a sixth-inning double. The hit capped Lower Sussex’s three-run sixth that completed the scoring.

Megan Daisey hurled three innings of no-hit relief, retiring all nine Curacao batters she faced.

After a nifty defensive play by second baseman Sophie Scurci smothered a Latin America threat in the top of the first, Lower Sussex broke on top when Hall reached on an error, moved up on a sacrifice bunt by Scurci and scored on a single by Hoban.

A four-run second was highlighted by Scurci’s RBI triple and Hoban’s two-run blast. That rally started when Katie McHale reached on a third-strike passed ball.

Pinch runner Cierra Lewis stole second and third and scored an infield error. Scurci then tripled and Hoban followed with her homer.

In the Lower Sussex sixth, Jaya Staub doubled and scored on a hit by Macy Blades.

Hall gave up for four runs on four hits. She struck out nine. Daisey struck out five in three innings.

“It was great, the combination with those two pitchers pitching so well. I’m proud of them both,” said manager Hoban.

The two runs for Curacao came on Deyna Zinhagel’s two-run homer in the fourth.

Latin America threatened in the top of first on back-to-back singles with one out. But Scurci snagged a soft liner, and alertly beat the Curacao runner to the second base bag for the inning-ending double play.

“That play by Sophie was huge to take those runners out of scoring position and get a double play. That was awesome,” manager Hoban said.

Lower Sussex’s victories were over East/Camden Wyoming (10-0), Latin America (7-0) and Asia Pacific (3-0) in pool play. It defeated U.S. West 5-2 in Friday’s single-elimination bracket.

Manager Hoban expects Lower Sussex, the District III host for the first time in the history of tournament held in Roxana, will have a huge following on the championship.

“I have no doubt,” she said. “Lower Sussex is an amazing place, and the community has been supporting Lower Sussex all year round. We’re blessed to have such a great community come out.”

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