Kaya Hannon gave up just two runs in two games when Tunkhannock opened the Little League Major Softball East Regional by winning its first two games in Bristol, Conn.
The victories put Tunkhannock in the winners’ bracket final that was rained out Wednesday and left it as one of four teams in contention to represent the East at the Little League Softball World Series.
Tunkhannock shut out Peabody Tanners from Massachusetts, 5-0, July 21 in its first game at the modified double-elimination tournament, which drew champions from 10 states. It held on to defeat Fairfield, Conn., 3-2, Tuesday.
As of the start of Thursday’s play, Tunkhannock needed two more wins to reach the World Series Aug. 8-15 in Portland, Ore.
Hannon threw a one-hit shutout with nine strikeouts and just one walk against Massachusetts. She came within an out of a no-hitter.
Tunkhannock got hits from 10 players.
Hannah James was 2-for-3 with a triple, run and RBI from the bottom spot in the order. Leadoff hitter Ella McNeff was 2-for-4 with a run and RBI.
Sydney Huff and Paige Marabell each had doubles.
Tunkhannock opened the scoring with two runs in the bottom of the first.
McNeff led off with a bunt single, stole second and scored on two wild pitches. Huff doubled to drive in Elaina Kulsicavage, who also had a bunt single and stole second base.
Marabell went 2-for-3 with a double, a run and an RBI against Connecticut.
Hannon tossed a three-hitter with three walks and 10 strikeouts.
The game was tied, 1-1, into the fifth inning when Marabell doubled to drive in McNeff, who had led off with a single. She then scored on a single by Huff.
Connecticut rallied with one run in the bottom of the sixth and final inning and had the tying run on base when McNeff handled two straight liners at shortstop to end the game.
Cranston, Rhode Island was the other 2-0 team going into Thursday’s meeting with Tunkhannock.
STATE 8-10-YEAR-OLD SOFTBALL
Back Mountain finished second in the state tournament that at Christy Mathewson Field in Fleetville, Lackawanna County.
Eventual champion South Williamsport and Back Mountain were the clear top two teams in the field with South Williamsport winning two of their three meetings between them, all of which were shutouts.
Back Mountain emerged from the elimination bracket needing to win two straight over South Williamsport, the last unbeaten. After beating South Williamsport, 1-0, Sunday, Back Mountain fell in the winner-take-all state championship game by the same score Monday.
After opening with a 12-0 win over Yough, Back Mountain defeated Avon Grove, 8-4, July 18 to reach the winners’ bracket final where it lost the first meeting with South Williamsport, 3-0, the next day.
Back Mountain came back with a 7-5 win over St. Mary’s in the elimination bracket final July 21.
Kirsten Finarelli drove in three runs against Avon Grove.
Carolyn Comitz had three hits and winning pitcher Nina Barrouk struck out 10.
Barrouk struck out eight against St. Mary’s.
Finarelli and Sofia Maier had two hits each.
Barrouk threw a two-hitter with 12 strikeouts in the win over South Williamsport. She also doubled and scored the winning run on a fielder’s choice grounder by FInarelli.
Maier and FInarelli had the only hits in the state final.
Barrouk limited South Williamsport to one unearned run.
South Williamsport dealt Back Mountain its only two losses in 13 all-star tournament games.
Reach the Dallas Post newsroom at 570-991-6405 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.