Home plate tagout lifts Charter past Sussex Tech in first-round pitchers’ duel

GEORGETOWN – Monday night’s DIAA state tournament opener between No. 11 Charter School of Wilmington and No. 6 Sussex Tech came down to the wire.

Charter centerfielder Taylor Gillis threw out Tech base-runner Kayla Booros at home plate to record the game’s final out and cement a 1-0 first-round upset victory.

“I assumed they would send her because they were trying to force extra innings, but our centerfielder is fast and she has a gun,” said Charter head coach Eileen Voltz of Gillis’ game-saving put-out. “Our catcher did an awesome job with the tag. It was just a great way to end that game for us.”

The victory sets Charter up with a quarterfinal match-up at No. 3 DMA Tuesday, May 21 at 4 p.m.

Charter starting pitcher Antonia Browning and Tech starting pitcher Taylor Wroten combined to surrender just eight hits and strike out 15 batters between them in the one-run pitchers’ duel.

Browning hurled a complete game shutout, striking out seven batters and surrendering five hits. She managed to escape a bases-loaded jam in the sixth-inning to preserve the playoff win.

“Antonia was awesome today,” Voltz said of her starter. “She had some injuries she’s battling back from and she gave us an awesome seven innings, really fooled them and kept us in the game. It was a tight game, obviously, with the one run between the two teams.”

Wroten, in her seven innings pitched, allowed just three hits and struck out eight batters.

“She pitched a great game,” said Tech head coach John Marvel of Wroten’s performance. “I think our girls really pushed back the last two innings – we got the bases loaded, we just couldn’t get anything done there. And then we had two hits in that last inning to put some pressure on, but they made some plays. They made a great play at the plate – it was a nice throw, and they got us out. We have to give them credit, they played a really good game.”

Wroten retired the first nine batters she faced and didn’t allow a hit until Charter’s Brooke Dooley drove in Ashley Steiner on an RBI double in the top of the fourth inning for the lone run of the game.

“She’s an all-state pitcher and we know she’s very consistent,” Voltz said of Wroten. “For our kids, it took us a little bit to get some hits – we had a hard time stringing some hits together. We sent the one kid (Steiner) on that double, just because I knew it was going to be hard to come up with hits against Wroten.”

Dooley recorded two of Charter’s three hits, finishing the game 2-for-3 with one RBI at the plate. Cassidy Zelano recorded the third hit for Charter’s offense.

Colleen Cosby went 2-for-3 in the batter’s box for Tech, while Livingston, Kylie Kruger and Kayla Booros recorded the other three hits for the Lady Ravens.

“We went 16-2, we probably lost more quality players off our team last year than anyone in the state, so for our girls to come back and win 16 out of 18 games, that’s a pretty good season,” Marvel said of his message to the girls following the loss. “I told them they had a good season, and it’s just one of those days – when you’re in a single-elimination tournament, these things can happen so just keep your head up. focus on all the good things we did and just keep rowing.”

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

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