GREENVILLE, N.C. — Delmar, Md. is one win away from being the best Little League softball team in the world.
The Mid-Atlantic champions scored their 11 runs in the first three innings before downing Asia-Pacific, 11-0, in the Little League semifinals on Sunday evening.
Delmar (4-0), which beat Asia-Pacific for the second time in two days, will play in the championship game on Monday at noon in a game televised on ESPN. The starting time was moved up because of expected storms in the area on Monday night.
The 12-team tournament is in Little League’s Major League division, which is for 11-12 year olds.
The Maryland state champions will play U.S. Southwest champion Texas, which is 4-0, in the title contest.
“Two months ago, I would have said we’d never been dreaming of being here,” said Delmar manager Mark Naugle. “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, it doesn’t matter, we’re champions.”
With Delmar located on the Maryland-Delaware border, there are some players on the squad who go to school in Delaware.
Only two Mid-Atlantic region teams have won the tournament title since it began in 1974: Robbinsville, N.J. in 2014 and Shippensburg, Pa. in 1978. Delmar beat Delaware state champion Georgetown in the Mid-Atlantic finals.
In its four World Series games, Delmar has allowed just two runs. After throwing a no-hitter against Asia-Pacific on Saturday, pitcher Macy Rickards allowed just one hit in four innings on Sunday with seven strikeouts and no walks.
Rickards still hasn’t allowed an earned run in 23 innings with 46 strikeouts.
“Macy is the workhorse, she’s the reason why we’re here,” said Naugle.
Offensively, Cheyanne Willey (2-for-3, 4 RBI), Ella Twilley (2-for-2, 2 runs) and Rickards (1-for-3, 3 runs, 1 RBI) paced Delmar’s eight attack. Asia-Pacific committed six errors.
“I’m really excited I get to experience this with my favorite team ever,” said Willey, who will be an eighth-grader at Delmar Middle School. “We have such a good bond. We work so good together on the field. I love them all.”