Smolder­ing Tri-City bats pave way into state tour­ney

District champs come out swing­ing, pound Cam­bridge

Record Observer - - Sports - By DAVID INSLEY dins­ley@star­dem.com

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.

PHOTO BY DUSTIN HOLT

Tri-City ace Brooke Mor­ton picked up an­other win Fri­day, lead­ing her team to the District 6 Cham­pi­onship.

PHOTO BY DUSTIN HOLT

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.

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