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16U Little League softball: Rowan edges Florida in thriller

Staff report

SALISBURY — Down three runs going to the bottom of the ninth, Rowan Little League’s 16U softball team rallied to beat Florida 9-8 late Saturday night.

Rowan is a Rowan/Mooresville conglomerate, while the Florida District 9 team represents the communities of Fort Myers, Cape Coral, North Fort Myers, Port Charlotte, Pine Island and Punta Gorda. Florida typically has a very stout team in this age group, so it was a huge win for Rowan, which is competing in this age group (13-16) for the first time.

Rowan led 4-0 early and took a 5-3 lead to the seventh, but  Florida rallied for two runs to force extra innings.

After a scoreless eighth, international rules were employed in the ninth. Florida started the top of the ninth with a runner at second base and pushed across three runs to lead 8-5.  Yanni David had a two-run single that left Rowan looking at a big deficit.

Rowan began the bottom of the ninth with the automatic runner at second base.

A one-out error gave Rowan runners at first and third before Kary Hales smacked a double to cut the deficit to 8-7.

Another error aided Rowan, and put two girls on base, but after Florida got the lead runner out on a ground ball by Claire Long, Rowan was down to its last out.

Allie Burns got behind in the count 0-and-2, and Rowan was down to its last strike, but Burns doubled to left field on a 1-and-2 pitch to plate Ellen Yang with the tying run.

Then Cailynn Winford grounded a single through the right side to score Long with the game-winner.

Hales won her second game of the day in the circle, this time in relief of Kendall Robinson, who pitched into the ninth inning.

Robinson struck out five, walked two and allowed a homer by Audrey Mills.

Hales homered in the first, her second of the day, for a 1-0 lead.  Abbey Nixon scored on a passed ball for a 2-0 lead in the second.

Burns singled in a run in the third and scored on an error for a 4-0 lead.

Rowan went up 5-3 in the sixth when Bentli Meadows singled home Nixon.

•••

Rowan and South Carolina champ Florence are the two unbeaten teams left in the seven-team field and are scheduled to meet today at 5:30 p.m.

 

Florida      000 300 203   —  8    11   4

Rowan       112  001  004   — 9    11    2

W — Hales. L —Dee Bent.

HR — Florida: Mills. Rowan: Hales

Leading hitters — Florida: Mills 3-for-4, 2 RBIs: David 3-for-5, 2 RBIs; Natalie Sibert 2-for-3. Rowan: Hales 2-for-5, 3 RBIs; Winford 2-for-5, RBI; Burns 2-for-5, 2 RBIs: Long 2-for-5.

 

•••

Friday scores:

South Carolina 10, Tennessee 1

Rowan 7, Virginia 1

Florida 9, Georgia 2

South Carolina 11, West Virginia 0

Rowan 9, Florida 8

Saturday’s games

Virginia vs. Georgia, 10 a.m.

Tennessee vs. Florida, 12:30 p.m.

Virginia/Georgia winner vs. West Virginia, 3 p.m.

South Carolina vs. Rowan, 5:30 p.m.

 

 

 

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