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July 26, 2013

LITTLE LEAGUE 9-10 SOFTBALL STATE FINALS: Jeff/GRC, New Albany earn state finals wins Friday

New Albany opens with 6-4 victory over Middlesbury, Jeff wins to improve to 1-1

CLARKSVILLE — New Albany and Jeff/GRC were both victorious in pool play at the 9-10-year-old softball state finals at Clarksville Little League on Friday.

Jeff rebounded from 14-8 loss to Fort Wayne Don Ayers in Thursday’s opener behind the arm of Megan Eckert. Jeff beat Bedford 6-3 is now 1-1 in Pool A and faces Hessville today at 5:30 p.m. and Broad Ripple at 3 p.m. Sunday.

New Albany, which had a bye on Thursday, won its opener 6-4 over Middlebury. New Albany takes its 1-0 mark into Saturday’s 8 p.m. tilt against Lebanon. It then faces South Bend Chet Waggoner on Sunday at 3 p.m.

LATE RUNS LIFT NEW ALBANY

With bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the fifth, Cami Reynolds broke a 4-4 tie with a bloop single between Middlebury’s pitcher and second baseman to score Alexia Flannery with the go-ahead run. A wild pitch then allowed Olivia Licerio add a sixth run for New Albany.

“It was important for us to win the first game,” New Albany manager Jason Kochert said. “We have to win all of our games, that’s the way we look at it.”

After a scoreless first inning, Middlebury scored two in the top of the second to its first lead of the game.

New Albany responded with three runs in the bottom half of the inning when Flannery walked and scored on a Licerio RBI single. Licerio scored on a double-steal following a Riley Chumbley walk. Chumbley then scored on a Hayley Fulton sacrifice bunt.

“Once we got comfortable, we started to relax,” Kochert said.

After Middlebury scored twice to tie the game in the top of the third, Skyler Roark led off the bottom of the frame with her second base hit. A Maggie Jo Foreman groundout and a Kayce Quinn single moved her to third and she scored on an error committed by Middlebury during another New Albany attempt at a double-steal.

Foreman held Middlebury scoreless the rest of the way, allowing Reynolds, Flannery and Licerio to become heroes in the fifth. Foreman surrendered just five hits and struck out six, including all three she faced in the bottom of the fifth.

“We played great defense, Maggie Jo pitched good and we hit pretty well, too,” Kochert said. “All around, we played a pretty good game.”

Roark went 2-for-3 with a double — the game’s only extra-base hit — and scored a run, while Licerio and Flannery each scored a pair of runs.

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