Per­ryville softball wins 1A ti­tle, fin­ishes sea­son un­de­feated Pan­thers earn 10-9 walk-off vic­tory over Boons­boro in ex­tra in­nings

Cecil Whig - - SPORTS - By JOR­DAN SCHATZ

jschatz@ce­cil­whig.com

— As soon as Jor­dyn Reese crossed home plate to score the big­gest run in pro­gram his­tory, Ly­dia Hill broke from the on­deck cir­cle and Ash­ley Meekins raced from first base, the three mo­men­tar­ily en­velop­ing in a bear hug be­fore the rest of their Per­ryville team­mates joined the em­brace.

They had a good rea­son to cel­e­brate.

Two bat­ters af­ter Reese pro­duced a run-scor­ing dou­ble to tie the game, she scored from third on a sac­ri­fice fly by Meekins to de­liver the Pan­thers a nine-in­ning, 10-9, come-from-be­hind vic­tory over Boons­boro in the 1A State Softball Cham­pi­onship at Univer­sity of Mary­land on Satur­day.

Be­hind one fi­nal big in­ning, Per­ryville (22-0) se­cured the first state crown in pro­gram his­tory and capped its un­de­feated sea­son in dra­matic style.

“Just ev­ery­thing we worked for this en­tire sea­son came to­gether in the last in­ning, from one hit, and it just felt so good. To leave this way, to leave as a se­nior, just made ev­ery­thing worth while,” Hill said. “I just wanted to hug ev­ery­one. I was so happy I just couldn’t help cry­ing. I was just an emo­tional mess, but it was in­cred­i­ble.”

With the Pan­thers trail­ing by one run, Reese went to bat in the fi­nal in­ning with a pinch run­ner, Nikki Hill, al­ready in scor­ing po­si­tion. Hill be­gan the frame on se­cond base due to In­ter­na­tional Tiebreaker rules, where the fi­nal bat­ter of the pre­vi­ous in­ning be­gins the next frame on se­cond base.

Rather than bunt the po­ten­tial ty­ing run to third base, Reese swung away, club­bing the first pitch she saw into the left-cen­ter field gap to eas­ily score the pinch run­ner.

“I trust my coach­ing staff. To be hon­est, [as­sis­tant coach] Buzz Phillips came to me, right in the ex­change, and [rec­om­mended we don’t bunt be­cause] of how they played Kait­lyn [Griffin] [on a failed bunt the in­ning be­fore]. They just suf­fo­cated ev­ery­thing in front. It had to be to be per­fect or there was noth­ing there at all,” Per­ryville coach Dave Ruark said. “I trust my coach­ing staff and I just went with it. Hey, why not? Jor­dyn Reese has been hit­ting

COL­LEGE PARK

great, she’s had a hit­ting streak for sev­eral games, she was crush­ing the ball yes­ter­day in prac­tice and they pitched it like they wanted to pitch for the bunt. It was right there and she smoked it. That was just such an en­ergy changer.”

Reese then ad­vanced to third base on a ground ball to se­cond off the bat of Am­ber Keene, be­fore run­ning home when Meekins lifted a fly ball to deep left field.

“I fig­ured they were go­ing to walk me so I knew that if I had my pitch, I would have to get it and put it in play,” Meekins said. “I got it in play … I was out and just watched Jor­dyn cross home. I was just so happy.”

Per­ryville’s quest for a per­fect sea­son nearly took a heart­break­ing turn a half-in­ning ear­lier.

Boons­boro (17-6), with the In­ter­na­tional Tiebreaker at se­cond to be­gin the top of the ninth in­ning, also opted not to bunt. Af­ter the first two bat­ters sin­gled to give the War­riors a one-run lead, they elected to swing away. The de­ci­sion cost them. Per­ryville fresh­man re­lief pitcher Mara Lit­tle struck out the side to es­cape the frame without fur­ther dam­age and gave the Pan­thers an op­por­tu­nity to come back in the bot­tom of the in­ning.

“I was beg­ging for an out. That’s all I could think about. How can we can get out of here without giv­ing up three or four runs? We thought they would bunt, they didn’t. I make my fair share of calls that don’t go our way but ev­ery­thing just fell into place,” Ruark said. “The big­gest thing was Mara get­ting down and bear­ing down and get­ting those huge outs. One [run] is very man­age­able. Two is com­pletely doable and you could just tell when we came in [from the field af­ter­wards] we had a great shot.

“Run­ners on first and se­cond with no outs and to get out of there just with one run, that was just a huge vic­tory.”

Both teams traded runs in the eighth in­ning. Boons­boro plated the In­ter­na­tional Tiebreaker af­ter a bunt and a base hit, while Per­ryville’s Nicole DiGi­ambat­tista’s sac­ri­fice fly scored pinch run­ner Kadi Davis, the Pan­thers’ In­ter­na­tional Tiebreaker, who scored from third af­ter mov­ing over on Lit­tle’s sin­gle.

The con­test took a wild turn in the top of the sev­enth in­ning af­ter the War­riors stunned the Pan­thers by scor­ing three runs with two outs to tie the score. Per­ryville then recorded three con­sec­u­tive fly outs to cen­ter to lead to ex­tra in­nings.

Af­ter Karly Paine and Alayna Pet­tyjohn both sin­gled to open the sev­enth in­ning for Boons­boro, the next two hit­ters struck out and grounded out, re­spec­tively, to move up both run­ners with two outs. Car­ley Cline then walked to load the bases, be­fore Re­bekah Sin­gle­ton de­liv­ered a two-run sin­gle and Pay­ton Smith fol­lowed with an RBI hit to right field.

“Not go­ing to lie, [the sev­enth in­ning] made me lose a lit­tle bit of faith. I was a lit­tle ner­vous for a lit­tle while,” Ly­dia Hill said. “But I knew we could pull it out and I had confidence in my team and I trust ev­ery sin­gle girl on this team to win. That’s what we came here for.”

Sim­i­lar to when Per­ryville fell be­hind ri­val Bo­hemia Manor, 4-0, in the first in­ning of the North Re­gion Sec­tion I Fi­nal matchup ear­lier this month, the Pan­thers once again found them­selves trail­ing Satur­day be­fore they even took their first at bat.

Af­ter start­ing pitcher Emily Phillips struck the first bat­ter out swing­ing, she al­lowed the next three bat­ters to reach on a sin­gle, an er­ror and a walk, re­spec­tively. Boons­boro’s Christina Baker then fol­lowed with a two-run sin­gle to give her team the lead, be­fore Sin­gle­ton capped the frame with a run-scor­ing sin­gle to cen­ter.

Un­like against the Ea­gles, how­ever, when they fi­nally took the lead in the fifth in­ning, the Pan­thers wasted lit­tle time Satur­day bat­tling back on the score­board.

Keene sin­gled, Meekins dou­bled and Ly­dia Hill de­liv­ered a two-run dou­ble to cen­ter, be­fore se­nior catcher Carly White reached on an er­ror by the cen­ter fielder. Griffin then laid down a sac­ri­fice bunt for the first out, mov­ing both run­ners over. Lit­tle then de­liv­ered an RBI sin­gle to right that scored Ly­dia Hill, while White’s pinch run­ner, Brooke Reynolds, also scored when she crossed the plate on the same play on a throw­ing er­ror by the fielder.

“[Boons­boro] re­ally brought a lot of en­ergy in that first in­ning. That’s kind of been our tough in­ning. A lot of times we’ve fallen be­hind af­ter giv­ing up a few in the first,” Ruark said. “But it’s al­most without fail [Per­ryville’s] re­sponded im­me­di­ately.”

Ly­dia Hill fin­ished 3 for 4 with a dou­ble and three RBI, Keene sin­gled twice with two runs and Griffin, a se­nior, added two hits with an RBI and a run for the Pan­thers, who tacked on two more runs in the third in­ning and an­other in the fourth.

Lit­tle, who picked up the win with four strike­outs, took over for Phillips at the start of the eighth in­ning. Phillips recorded the non­de­ci­sion, al­low­ing seven runs on 12 hits with five strike­outs.

“It’s awe­some. I’m glad for the se­niors,” Meekins said. “For us, ba­si­cally it’s a great good­bye gift to them. We made it as far as pos­si­ble.”

Fol­low Jor­dan Schatz on Twit­ter: @Jor­dan_Whig

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY JOR­DAN SCHATZ

Per­ryville start­ing pitcher Emily Phillips, right, hugs her team­mate, Jor­dyn Reese, fol­low­ing their team’s vic­tory over Boons­boro in the 1A State Softball Cham­pi­onship at Univer­sity of Mary­land in Col­lege Park on Satur­day.

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