Caro­line sweeps to Dis­trict 6 crown

Times-Record - - Front Page - By CHRIS KNAUSS ck­nauss@star­dem.com

— Caro­line County’s 10-12 Lit­tle League soft­ball all-stars put to­gether their best per­for­mance Fri­day evening at the North Eas­ton Sports Com­plex to cap­ture the Mary­land Dis­trict 6 cham­pi­onship.

Eileen John­son al­lowed only two hits with­out a walk, strik­ing out 14, for a com­plete-game vic­tory as Caro­line com­pleted a three-game sweep of the four-team dou­ble-elim­i­na­tion tour­na­ment.

— Caro­line County’s 10-12 Lit­tle League soft­ball all-stars put to­gether their best per­for­mance Fri­day evening at the North Eas­ton Sports Com­plex to cap­ture the Mary­land Dis­trict 6 cham­pi­onship.

Eileen John­son al­lowed only two hits with­out a walk, strik­ing out 14, for a com­plete-game vic­tory as Caro­line com­pleted a three-game sweep of the four-team dou­ble-elim­i­na­tion tour­na­ment.

John­son’s per­for­mance was so dom­i­nat­ing only Dorch­ester’s top four bat­ters were able to put the ball in play. She struck out all the five through nine bat­ters in the lineup that she faced.

John­son also knocked in two runs, one each in a three-run third and a fiverun fourth. Anna Hutchi­son and Ty’Onna Sin­gle­tary each had two hits for Caro­line and Abby Gun­ther walked three times.

Caro­line reached the cham­pi­onship game with a 4-2 vic­tory over Home­run Baker and a 6-3 vic­tory over Dorch­ester. Dorch­ester elim­i­nated Home­run Baker, 16-7, in the loser’s-bracket fi­nal on Wed­nes­day.

“We came out a lit­tle slug­gish the first cou­ple games and didn’t hit, and tonight we came out and hit the ball. That’s the name of the game,” Caro­line head coach Lee Hutchi­son said. “We played pretty good de­fense through­out the tour­na­ment but hit­ting’s the name of the game and we did hit tonight.”

Caro­line ad­vances to the Mary­land state tour­na­ment in Brunswick be­gin­ning on Satur­day, July 15. It will meet the Dis­trict 8 cham­pion at 1 p.m. All games will be played at the Emory & El­iz­a­beth Frye Me­mo­rial Field lo­cated near the Brunswick LL com­plex.

Caro­line broke open a score­less tie in the top of the third Fri­day. Anna Hutchi­son dou­bled, off Dorch­ester pitcher Gretchen Richard­son, into the left-cen­ter gap

to open the in­ning. She took sec­ond on a wild pitch and scored on a one­out ground-sin­gle to left by John­son. John­son was forced out at sec­ond af­ter a looper into shal­low right off the bat of Sin­gle­tary. Wild pitches al­lowed Sin­gle­tary to ad­vance to third, and Gun­ther walked and stole sec­ond un­con­tested. Both run­ners scored on a fly ball to right by Kate­lyn Trib­bitt that Dorch­ester’s right-fielder wasn’t able to catch. Dorch­ester re­liever Mad­die Nagel struck out the next bat­ter to end the at-bat with Caro­line up 3-0.

Emma Robin­son, who had both hits for Dorch­ester, sin­gled up the mid­dle with two outs in the bot­tom of the third but was left stranded when John­son struck out her third bat­ter of the in­ning.

Caro­line then took con­trol with its five-run fourth. Made­lyn Porter reached on an er­ror and Hutchi­son sin­gled up the mid­dle off Nagel with one out. Anna Hu­ber also reached base on an er­ror and Porter scored to make it 4-0. John­son fol­lowed with a base­hit to left, knock­ing in Hutchi­son, and Hu­ber also scored on an out­field er­ror for a 6-0 lead. John­son ad­vanced to sec­ond and third on wild pitches and Sin­gle­tary then swat­ted an RBI sin­gle to left off Richard­son. Sin­gle­tary later scored from sec­ond on Trib­bitt’s fielder’s choice to make it 8-0.

Nagel and Richard­son each took three turns on the mound dur­ing the game to try to quiet Caro­line’s of­fense. Nagel shut down Caro­line the fi­nal two frames but by that time the out­come was vir­tu­ally de­cided due to John­son’s dom­i­nance on the mound.

“It’s huge,” Coach Hutchi­son said of hav­ing John­son on the mound. “You know she’s only go­ing to give up a few runs per game.”

John­son robbed Robin­son of a third hit when she knocked down a grounder up the mid­dle and threw to first for the sec­ond out in the sixth. It was the sec­ond as­sist from a player not on her feet. In the first, Hu­ber, Caro­line’s third base­man, threw out a baserun­ner at first from a sit­ting po­si­tion af­ter a bunt.

Robin­son had sin­gled to open the home first and went all the way to third on the sac­ri­fice bunt. The only Dorch­ester player to get into scor­ing po­si­tion, she was left stranded when John­son fanned the next two bat­ters. Fol­low me on Twit­ter @csknauss / email me at ck­nauss@star­dem.com

PHOTO BY CHRIS KNAUSS

Caro­line’s Eileen John­son (right) de­liv­ers a pitch dur­ing her team’s 8-0 vic­tory over Dorch­ester on Fri­day at the North Eas­ton Sports Com­plex. John­son al­lowed only two hits and didn’t walk a bat­ter in a com­plete-game win. She struck out 14.

PHOTO BY CHRIS KNAUSS

Caro­line’s 9-10-year-old soft­ball all-stars and their coaches with the Mary­land Dis­trict 6 cham­pi­onship ban­ner Fri­day evening at the North Eas­ton Sports Com­plex.

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