District III drops 2-1 loss to U.S. Southwest in Softball World Series semis

ROXANA – Defeating the same team twice can be a difficult task. Repeating as world champions is an even more difficult task.

U.S. Southwest, from Waco, Texas, defeated District III, 2-1, in Saturday night’s Senior League Softball World Series semifinal round, putting an end to District III’s quest for a second straight title.

The Southwest victory, which will set them up in Sunday’s final against Asia-Pacific at 2 p.m., avenged a 2-1 extra-inning loss to District III in Tuesday’s pool play match-up. The extra-inning loss took 12 innings to complete and ended on a walk-off double for District III.

Ryleigh Elliott safely slides home to put District III on the board first in the top of the third inning. Jordyn DiFava hit her in on an RBI double (Sussex Post/Ben Heck).

“We knew coming in we had a chance, after seeing Taylor Wroten for 12 innings the other night,” said Southwest manager Chance Bacon. “We thought we could get the bats going a little bit.”

“Our girls fought hard, they just couldn’t find the holes and their pitchers kept us off-balance enough. It was a great run and hat’s off to the Southwest team – they did a great job,” said District III manager Craig Kormanik.

“We knew going into this game that they have a great squad. To me, in my mind, that might have been the championship game.”

District III (5-1), the Sussex County squad made up of players from the Georgetown/Cape area, will play U.S. East (2-4) in Sunday’s third-place consolation game at 11 a.m.

Wroten, making the start in the pitcher’s circle for the sixth consecutive day, finished the semifinal game with eight strikeouts and surrendered just five hits on the night.

“They’re a good team and we knew they were going to be a good team going into this,” she said. “They always say it’s hard to beat a good team twice and I guess things just didn’t go our way this time.”

Offensively, District III collected five hits, including a pair of doubles from Sierra Livingston, a double from Jordyn DiFava and singles from Kelsey Kormanik and Siera Jones.

Starting pitcher Taylor Wroten high-fives third baseman Kylie Kruger after Kruger caught a line drive on the first pitch of the bottom half of the first inning (Sussex Post/Ben Heck).

District III struck first, scoring a run in the top half of the third inning off DiFava’s RBI double. Elliott slid safely into home to put the host team ahead 1-0.

Southwest bounced back with a pair of RBI singles from Kennedy Cox and Beronica DeLosRios in the bottom half of the third inning to hand Southwest the one-run lead.

It’s all the offense they would need as Southwest pitchers Kennedy Parker (3.0 innings) and Alex Earhart (4.0 innings in relief) combined to allow just one run on five hits to pick up the win.

Kormanik expects his District III girls to bounce back and finish the tournament strong in Sunday morning’s consolation game.

“It is tough, I’m not going to lie,” he said. “You always want to be playing in that last championship game, but they’re a tough group of girls and I think they’ll rebound and come out here and play the East tough tomorrow.”

“I think this was an amazing opportunity,” Wroten said of the team’s week at the World Series. “Sometimes, it’s not all about softball, it’s about the relationships you form with your teammates and the relationships you form with girls from all over the country.

“Even though there may be some language barriers with some of the teams, it’s great to be able to interact with them on common ground and make life-long friends. I think it’s an opportunity and a memory that I’m going to cherish forever.”

Sports Editor Ben Heck can be reached at bheck@newszap.com.

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