Tunkhannock ran into a tough left-hander in its extra-inning win over the Asia-Pacific champion in the quarterfinals. Another awaited Tunkhannock on Wednesday night in the Little League Softball World Series championship game in Portland, Ore. — AndiJo Howard from Ohio champion Wheelersburg Little League.
Howard retired 16 in a row and escaped a rally attempt in the sixth as Ohio defeated Tunkhannock 3-0 to win the championship.
Howard entered the title game with a 0.44 ERA and 46 strikeouts in the tournament. She backed up those numbers with seven more strikeouts while allowing three hits.
Tunkhannock got a runner on in the first inning when Elaina Kulsicavage beat out a slow roller to short for an infield single. She was erased on a fielder’s choice, and a groundout then ended the inning.
The last two outs of the first started a run of Howard retiring 16 in a row. She struck out the side in the fifth inning and Piper Robinson’s flyout to short left to start the fourth was the only time Tunkhannock hit the ball out of the infield during the streak.
Trailing 3-0, Tunkhannock tried to rally with two outs in the sixth inning.
Ella McNeff lined a single to center, ending Howard’s run of 16 retired in a row. Elaina Kulsicavage followed with a grounder in the hole at shortstop for Tunkhannock’s third hit of the game. She moved to second on the first pitch, but the comeback bid ended with a groundout.
Ohio was able to build its 3-0 lead with timely hitting and capitalizing on Tunkhannock miscues.
Ohio had its lead runners on base to start the first and second, but Tunkhannock pitcher Kaya Hannon battled back with two strikeouts in each inning. She retired the side in order in the third, then ran into problems in the fourth.
With one out, Ohio’s Maddison Kotcamp doubled to deep left field. An out later, Haley Myers blooped a single to right, scoring Kotcamp. Myers made it to second on the throw to the plate and scored on an error for a 2-0 lead.
Ohio tacked on another run in the sixth as Tunkhannock made two more errors. Sydney Skiver opened the frame by reaching on an error and moved to second on Kotcamp’s bloop single to center. The runners moved up on a sacrifice bunt before Ohio loaded the bases when a pop off the bat of Haley Myers was dropped.
Emma Smith then hit a fielder’s choice to score Skiver.
Hannon allowed four hits and struck out six.
Tunkhannock won Pool A with a 4-1 record, then defeated the Asian-Pacific champion 2-1 in seven innings and Oregon 6-4 to reach the championship.
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