Smoldering Tri-City bats pave way into state tourney
District champs come out swinging, pound Cambridge
CAMBRIDGE — Tri-City came out swinging Friday night in the District 6 senior league softball championship game at Pliescott Park, pounding out 16 hits for 22-10 victor y over Cambridge.
Tri-City (15-1) advances to the state tournament, beginning July 9, coming out of the win bracket and posting a 3-0 district tournament record.
Cambridge, a combination of the Whitten Insurance and the Fraternal Order of Police teams, finished its postseason at 1-2. Cambridge defeated Talbot 11-10 on Thursday to make the championship game, needing to win twice in the doubleelimination event. Talbot, a single team during the season like TriCity, finished 9-5.
“I think they did fairly well, though, for only being together a week,” Cambridge manager Kim Whitten said. “They came together, and played well.
“We made some errors that hurt us a lot,” Whitten added, “but TriCity also hit the ball a lot.”
After its first two batters were retired in the top of the first, TriCity got the next 10 hitters on base, scoring nine of them. Brooke Morton drove in two with a triple to right field, and Paige Phillips hit an inside-the-park grand slam her second time up in the opening frame.
“I think the first time up, I was nervous, you know, championship game, first batter,” Phillips said. “But after that I felt pretty loose, and just went out there and hit.”
“The girls did a great job hitting tonight,” Tri-City manager Clark Harrison said. “I had told them, in the first game against Cambridge (Wednesday), they swung at a lot of bad stuff early, they were impatient, and they needed to have a better approach at the plate, and that’s how they went into it tonight. We hit the heck out of the ball tonight.”
Tri-City added four runs in the top of the second, with Marissa Mills, Phillips, and Jenna Usilton each notching an RBI.
Down 13-0, Cambridge scored its first runs in the bottom of the second against Morton.
Brooke Windsor, who started on the mound for Cambridge, got the rally going with an infield single. Ariah Matos blasted a double high and deep to right field to score Windsor. Rebecca Lowe’s single two batters later scored Matos to make it 13-2.
But that was as close as it got.
Tri-City made it a no-doubter in the top of the third with nine more runs. Morton (four runs) singled home a run and Brooke Harding plated two with a double. Mills, Anna Hubbard, and Maggie Meilhammer (triple) each had RBI hits as well, as Tri-City’s lead ballooned to 22-2.
Riley Keener singled to start the home third, eventually scoring on a Matos hit. Cambridge continued plugging away in the bottom of the fourth. Adrienne Kane led off with a triple, and Lowe reached on
an error which scored Kane. Sabrina McKelvey hit a bloop single and Madison Dunn walked to load the bases with nobody out.
Morton struck out the next hitter, one of her four on the day in a complete-game effort. But then Abby Robinson hit a bounder to short which was mishandled; all hands were safe and another run scored to make it 22-5. A fielder’s choice by Chyenne Robinson forced out Dunn at third, but plated McKelvey.
Windsor followed with a two-run base-rap to right-center field to make it 22-8. Matos then lofted a fly ball to right field, which bounced off the edge of the outfielder’s glove. Windsor scored, but Matos was out trying for third to end the inning.
Shayla Collins, who relieved for Cambridge from the third inning on, was lightsout in the fourth and fifth, retiring the final seven hitters she faced, three on strikes. But Cambridge’s last rally was not enough to extend the rout-rule game.
Kane doubled to start the bottom of the fifth and scored on Lowe’s double. But Morton then got two strikeouts and a ground ball to first to end the game and take the title.
“I thought we had a chance to be competitive at the state level,” Harrison said. “I knew about midway through the season that we really had something special.”
“I think early on, we knew we had a good team, and we just had to play the way we knew we could,” Morton said. “Clark knew from the beginning, I think.”
Tri-City, or District 6, is scheduled to start the state tournament on July 9 in Cambridge. The first game for District 6 is slated for 10 a.m. against the winner of District 8, representing Somerset, Wicomico, and Worcester Counties.
Notes: Phillips had two steals in addition to scoring three runs; Usilton scored twice, as did Meredith Bell, Hubbard, and Katie Smith, while Harding had three runs. Morton notched three RBIs in the win . ... Kane and Windsor each scored a pair of runs for Cambridge.
Tri-City ace Brooke Morton picked up another win Friday, leading her team to the District 6 Championship.
Tri-City’s Paige Phillips, left, and Ashley Hoffman celebrate after Phillips hit an inside-the-park grand slam in Friday’s 22-10 victory.