Georgetown shuts out Canada, earns spot in Sunday’s championship

District 3 players celebrate their 1-0 semifinal win over Canada Saturday that sends the tournament host team from Georgetown into today’s Little League Senior Softball World Series championship game. District 3 (5-1) faces unbeaten Asia Pacific/Philippines (6-0) in the 2 p.m. title game. It will be televised live on ESPN2.

ROXANA — Georgetown earned a spot in the Senior Softball World Series championship match-up with a 1-0 semifinal victory over Canada Saturday night.

With the help of Taylor Wroten’s second consecutive shutout performance in the pitcher’s circle, Georgetown handed Canada its only loss of the 2017 tournament.

The victory sets Georgetown up with a championship match-up against Asia-Pacific Sunday, Aug. 6 at 2 p.m. on ESPN2.

“Once again it was a pitchers’ duel. We were just fortunate enough to move that one run around and hold them,” Georgetown manager Craig Kormanik said. “Taylor, once again, unbelievable performance. Hopefully tomorrow we’ll do a little bit more with the bats, but we got it done.”

On offense, Georgetown managed just two hits against Canada starting pitcher Kaia Gyorfi. But it was enough.

Shortstop Jakayla Sample, pitcher Taylor Wroten, catcher Kelsey Kormanik and third baseman Kylie Kruger celebrate following the final out of Georgetown’s 1-0 semifinal victory (Sussex Post/Glenn Rolfe).

Both teams went hitless through the first two innings of play and Georgetown didn’t record its first hit until the bottom of the fourth inning.

Jakayla Sample led the bottom of the fourth off with an infield single, beating out the throw from the shortstop.

She turned the base-hit into the game’s only run.

Corrin Farris laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Sample over to second base. One at-bat later Wroten laid down a bunt as well, reaching on a fielding error. Sample would score from second base on the play, sliding past the tag from the opposing catcher.

“It definitely felt great to be able to put the ball in play and have Taylor bunt me back in,” Sample said of her run.

Wroten, who almost missed the game due to a family vacation, would strike out nine batters and allow just three hits in the game.

“Taylor is just a premiere pitcher. Bottom line. You don’t find pitchers like Taylor very often, and we are fortunate to have her,” said coach Kormanik. “It’s a total team effort though, if she didn’t have who she has behind her she wouldn’t be able to do what she does.”

Whenever Canada put runners on base, Georgetown’s defense would make a play to shut down the potential scoring threat.

Catcher Kelsey Kormanik ended the top of the fifth inning by throwing out Grace Hobby, who attempted to steal second base.

With a runner on second base and one down in the top of the sixth, center-fielder Ryleigh Elliott caught an Emma Rautio-Roe fly ball and threw a laser to third baseman Kylie Kruger. Kruger and second baseman Jordyn DiFava teamed up to tag base-runner Grace Hobby out in a rundown to end the inning on an unconventional double play.

Shortstop Jakayla Sample slides home safely for the lone run in Georgetown’s semifinal win over Canada Saturday night (Sussex Post/Glenn Rolfe).

Kara Powell had Georgetown’s only other base-hit, leading the bottom of the sixth inning off with an infield single.

She would then steal second base and later reach third base on a Canada error, but Georgetown was unable to secure the insurance run and stranded her at third.

Wroten registered a strikeout and forced back-to-back groundouts in the top of the seventh to cement the World Series bid.

“Everyone was just able to come together and have Taylor’s back,” said Jordyn DiFava. “She pitched really well and when they were able to hit the ball we were able to play strong defense behind her and make some plays. It was a great team effort all the way around.”

Instead of hopping on a plane with her family, Wroten opted to stay in town for a few more days to help her team earn a World Series championship.

“I got in the car [to go to the airport] and talked to my parents, and the people we were going on vacation with, some more. I wanted to be here with my team, and I knew the vacation could wait a little bit. So I turned around and came back,” Taylor said.

Kylie Kruger (16) dives and lays the tag on Canada’s Amelia Trembath to complete Georgetown’s sixth inning double play as Jordyn DiFava stands guard on second base in case of a throw (Sussex Post/Glenn Rolfe).

Rather than sitting on a beach and relaxing in a completely different time zone, Wroten got back to work and shut down Canada’s bats en route to victory.

“They’re amazing,” she said of her teammates. “We’re unstoppable right now. I believe that, I really do. No matter what happens, we have each other’s backs. They’re just terrific ball players all around.”

Sunday afternoon’s championship match-up against Asia-Pacific will be televised on ESPN2, which is a dream come true for every young softball and baseball player growing up.

“This has always been a dream of mine, to make it to the championship and play on TV and it’s happening right now so I’m pretty excited. I can’t wait,” said third baseman Kylie Kruger.

“We’re just going to come in, try to do the best we can, play how we know we can and hopefully win it all,” Kara Powell said of the team’s championship approach.

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

Canada center-fielder Gabby Freer waits for the umpire’s call after tagging Taylor Wroten at second base.

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