SUSSEX COUNTY, Del. – The Zootown All-stars wasted little time in getting on the board during Wednesday’s 9-2 softball win over USA Southeast of Ft. Myers, Florida. The USA West champs scored five runs in the second inning to break up a scoreless Senior Little League World Series game, built that lead to eight and didn’t look back.
“It felt great. We definitely needed that win,” Zootown shortstop Jamie Schafer said. Schafer, who competed in the home run derby Tuesday night, collected three hits including a pair of doubles and drove in two runs.
“We finally found our groove,” center fielder Holly Hale added. “I love it when one of us steps in and it never ends from there. That’s how we win – we win as a team.”
Zootown jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the top of the second inning. Kendall Rauk reached first on an error and pinch runner Megan Delaney scored on a single by Taylor Holmes. Holmes came in when Hale reached on a bunt single and the ball got past the first baseman. Hale returned to first after getting caught in a rundown and Holmes scored Zootown’s second run of the game.
Hale scored on an error, Kaylee Rosenbaum singled in Adessa Gagner – she reached on an error – and Schafer singled in Rosenbaum.
USA Southeast’s Erin Kyle hit a two-out single in the bottom of the third to put runners on first and third after Hale’s strong throw from center field kept the runners from advancing. Pitcher Macey Newbary stranded the runners, though, with her fifth strikeout of the game.
In the top of the fourth, Hale reached first on a fielder’s choice and scored on a single by Newbary and Rosenbaum and Newbary scored on a two-out double by Schafer for an 8-0 Zootown lead.
Rauk came on for Newbary, who scattered three hits and struck out six in four innings of work, in the fifth. Kyle singled to put runners on first and second with one out before Rauk got a pop out and a strikeout to end the inning.
The Florida girls scored their only runs of the game in sixth as Kaylee Morfis singled in a pair.
But Schafer led off the top of the seventh with a double and pinch runner Maggie Miltko advanced on a single by Shelby Shourds and scored on a fielder’s choice to give the game its 9-2 final score. Rauk sent the Floridians down in order in the bottom of the inning to seal the win.
“Kendall stepped up when it was time and shut them down,” Zootown manager Kevin Miltko said of his relief pitcher.
Hale contributed two hits and two runs; Newbary had two hits, one RBI and one run; Rosenbaum collected one hit, one RBI and two runs; Taylor added one hit, one RBI and one run; Delaney had one run and one RBI; Gagner and Miltko scored one run each; and Shourds chipped in with a hit.
Zootown faces USA Southwest on Thursday night in the final game of pool play. USA Southwest was 2-0 going into Wednesday’s late game against Asia Pacific while Zootown (2-1) moved past USA Southeast (2-2) for second place in Pool A. The top two teams in each pool advance to the semifinals on Friday.
“That one game is for all the marbles. We need to win that game to get to the semifinals,” said Kevin Miltko.