White’s slam sends Pan­thers to state semi­fi­nals

Cecil Whig - - SPORTS - By KEVIN PHILLIPS

Spe­cial to the Whig

— Carly White stepped to the plate in the bot­tom of the third in­ning with the bases loaded and one out in a score­less game and de­liv­ered the de­ci­sive swing for Per­ryville in the 1A North Re­gion Fi­nal again vis­it­ing McDonough on Fri­day.

White launched a pitch to deep left field and hus­tled around the bases for an in­side-the-park grand slam to give the Pan­thers the lead and help pro­pel them to the state semi­fi­nals with an 8-3 vic­tory over the Rams.

“I knew I was go­ing to get an in­side pitch,” White said. “My coach told me not to swing at an in­side pitch. I knew I had to prove some­thing here. I knew that my team needed a hit. I just wanted to put the ball in play. I closed my eyes and swung, and it went where it needed to go.”

PER­RYVILLE

Jor­dyn Reese led off the third for Per­ryville (20-0) with a sin­gle and moved to sec­ond on an Am­ber Keene walk. Af­ter a sac­ri­fice bunt by Ash­ley Meekins that moved Reese and Keene up a base, Ly­dia Hill was hit by a pitch to load the bases.

White came up and wal­loped a pitch that went over the left fielder’s head and skid­ded all the way to the fence. Reese, Keene and Hill all scored eas­ily on the play, and White hus­tled around the bases and beat the throw home for the grand slam to give the Pan­thers a 4-0 lead.

“I can’t be­lieve it hap­pened. That’s my great­est [mo­ment] I ever had play­ing soft­ball,” White said. “It was awe­some. I got to run around the bases, and I don’t get to do that of­ten. It’s def­i­nitely awe­some.”

McDonough got on the board in the top of the fifth when Jodie Par­lett scored on a Reed But­ler sin­gle, but Per­ryville re­sponded in the bot­tom half of the frame when White drove in Meekins with a sac­ri­fice fly to left for her fifth RBI of the game to make it 5-1.

The Rams scored twice in the sixth in­ning to make it a two-run game at 5-3, but once again, the Pan­thers re­sponded and tacked on three in­sur­ance runs in the bot­tom of the sixth to ex­tended their lead to 8-3.

Pitcher Emily Phillips re­tired the side in or­der in the top of the sev­enth, and when she struck out the fi­nal bat­ter, Per­ryville con­gre­gated to the third base line to cel­e­brate its re­turn to the state semi­fi­nals for the first time since 2013.

“It feels amaz­ing. We came into this game think­ing that we can’t be think­ing too much about the stakes be­cause we take one game at a time,” said Phillips, who struck out 13 bat­ters in a com­plete-game win. “We came into this game and thought, ‘We had to be on our ‘A game.’ We have to have to take it one in­ning at a time. We have to hit the ball and play al­to­gether.’”

The Pan­thers ad­vance to the state semi­fi­nals where they will play Pikesville at Bach­man Park in Glen Burnie on Tues­day. For un­de­feated Per­ryville, each win it has racked up thus far has given it con­fi­dence for its next step.

“Ob­vi­ously it feels good. Beat­ing Bo Manor [in the Sec­tion I Fi­nal] was such an emo­tional win that it seemed like that was the hur­dle that we had to get over. I hate to say it, but there’s al­most a feel­ing of ex­pec­ta­tion,” Pan­thers coach Dave Ruark said. “I feel like it’s some­thing that we’re des­tined to do. It feels amaz­ing just for the girls.”

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY KEVIN PHILLIPS

Per­ryville se­nior Carly White, right, slides in safe at home on an in­side-the-park grand slam dur­ing the Pan­thers’ 8-3 vic­tory over vis­it­ing McDonough in the 1A North Re­gion Fi­nal on Fri­day.

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