Tunkhannock failed to capitalize on numerous scoring chances Friday night and suffered its first loss at the Little League Softball World Series in Portland, Ore., falling 1-0 to U.S. Southeast champion Daniel Boone Little League of Gray, Tenn.
The loss dropped Tunkhannock to 2-1 in Pool A and behind U.S. West champion Kirkland Little League of Kirkland, Wash. Tunkhannock finishes pool play at noon Saturday against Kirkland (2-0). Tunkhannock is off Sunday when pool play concludes.
Tennessee managed just two hits off Tunkhannock starter Kaya Hannon but made one of them count.
In the top of the third, Tennessee’s Adriawna Kuykendall walked with one out and moved to second when Riley Croley was hit in the head with a pitch.
After Hannon got a strikeout for the second out, Josie Jenkins singled to center to score Kuykendall. Tennessee loaded the bases on a fielder’s choice, but Hannon got a popout to avoid further damage.
The top of the first showed just what kind of night it would be for Tunkhannock, the U.S. East champion.
In the first, Ella McNeff and Hannon had singles and Paige Marabell was hit by a pitch, but Tunkhannock was unable to get a run across.
In the second, Tunkhannock used a single to right by Sydney Huff and walks to Hannah James and McNeff to load the bases with two outs. Elaina Kulsicavage then smashed a hard grounder down the third-base line only to have third baseman Ava Saul spear the ball and step on third to end the inning.
The fourth inning also presented a scoring chance when Huff walked to start the frame. She was bunted over to second by Julianna Roote. Emily Patton was then hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second.
Huff and Patton tried to move up a base on a wild pitch. Huff was safe on the throw to third, but Tennessee third baseman Saul threw to second to nip Patton. Huff was stranded at third after a strikeout.
Then came the fifth inning and another unfulfilled scoring opportunity.
McNeff opened the fifth by reaching on an error and Serenity Kerr got on base via hit by pitch. But two fielder’s choices at third base and a popout, where Tennessee shortstop Jenkins had the ball pop out of her glove before she caught it, ended the inning.
Huff started Tunkhannock’s sixth with a liner back to Tennessee pitcher Kayleigh Musser, who knocked down the ball and threw to first only to have the ball dropped. Tennessee, though, recovered from the miscue.
Erin Van Ness, the next batter, hit a pop-up behind home plate and Tennessee catcher Kyleigh Bacon made a diving catch and threw to first base for a double play. The game ended on a groundout.