BRISTOL >> In an instant, their season was over.
Seymour made two costly errors in the bottom of the sixth inning and was eliminated from the Little League East Regional softball tournament.
“We couldn’t make up for the errors tonight,” Seymour manager Dawn Supranovich said.
Locked in a scoreless tie, Pennsylvania’s Brooke Espenshade led off the bottom of the sixth inning by reaching on an error, then advancing to second base when the ball went out of play.
The next batter, Cameron Trottier, singled between third and short. The ball was misplayed in the outfield, allowing Espenshade to score the winning run in a 1-0 walk-off victory Friday at Breen Field.
Pennsylvania lost to New Jersey 3-2 Friday night in the regional championship game. New Jersey advances to the World Series in Oregon.
“We were hoping for so much more in the final game,” Supranovich said. “But Pennsylvania is a good team. We knew we’d have to play really tight, and certainly outscore them. But, defensively, we had to be near perfect.”
Espenshade hit a sharp grounder to short to lead off the sixth. The ball was fielded cleanly but the throw sailed high and into foul territory, allowing Espenshade to advance to second. Then on a 2-1 count, Trottier ripped the single that would determine the game’s outcome.
“I was just thinking, ‘Oh, my god, we’re going to win this thing,’” Espenshade recalled thinking while she was rounding third and heading for home.
Pennsylvania’s Megan Hartz and her Seymour counterpart, Megan Condo, were locked in a pitcher’s duel throughout the contest. Condo did not give up a hit until there was one out in the fourth and ended up allowing four hits and three walks while striking out six.
Hartz scattered three hits, didn’t walk a batter and struck out five. She allowed just one batter to reach second base.
“Megan was Megan,” Pennsylvania manager Greg Espenshade said. “She really pitched well. We call her ‘Spin Master’ for a reason, because she throws a lot of spinballs. She was very good tonight. She was hitting her spots and she kept them off balance, which was key, because we know they’re a very good hitting team.”
“Mostly hitting my spots,” said Hartz, when asked what she tried to focus on. “My spin pitches are my most important.”
Isabella Calabro had two hits for Seymour. She led off the top of the sixth with a single, but was caught stealing.
Jill Andes had the only other hit off Hartz, a single in the first inning. After stealing second, Andes was stranded after Hartz worked a strikeout and a flyout to end the inning.
“(Hartz) kept the base hits down today,” Supranovich said. “She managed our lineup pretty well.”
Seymour, which advanced to the regional quarterfinals last season, finishes this summer at 14-2. Supranovich said she will fondly remember the team chemistry of this group.
“The love,” an emotional Supranovich said. “I’ve been coaching for a long time, and I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s been a great year.”