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BY ZACH WILLIAMS | Downtown Little League took another state softball title as the 11-year-old girls beat Pearl River on Monday.
The two teams exchanged leads throughout the game, but it took an extra inning following a rain delay to determine a winner. Coach Scott Morrison told Downtown Express in a phone interview that the game, held in Chatnam, N.Y. remained competitive until the final out.
“It was nerve-wracking,” he said.
The state championship was the second for Downtown that weekend following a win by a team comprised of local 14 year-olds who advanced to the Eastern region finals next week. For the 11-year-olds though, the state tournament is the end of the line since there is no national tournament. It has been a drama-filled week for the team, who captured the city title last weekend.
On Monday, with the score tied at two, a new field had to be prepared in order to continue the game due to the rain. Sisters Isabella and Anabella Pelaez got Downtown started with two walks. A “perfect” bunt by Grace Kirwin advanced the runners to second and third.
That’s when Rylie Spiegel came through with a critical grounder allowing Isabella to score and Downtown to garner a one-run lead.
A ground-out, single and strike out began Pearl River’s offensive effort in the bottom of the seventh. Perhaps, any championship game should have a little drama to end it.
“As soon as Rylie Spiegel caught the strike for the second out, she popped up and threw the ball to the shortstop, Zoe Anderson, as the runner was stealing the base,” reads an account of the game sent to Downtown Express. “That ball flew in Zoe’s glove as the runner was sliding into her. You see both girls on the ground and the umpire says: ‘Where’s the ball?’ Zoe throws her glove in the air to show him and he yells ‘She’s out!’ for the third and final out of the New York State Championship game. Their hard work has paid off!”