Maryland ousts Milford softball on close call in East Region

BRISTOL - Did the throw reach the first baseman’s glove before the runner’s foot hit the bag?

Replay confirmed the safe call.

Maryland’s Lexie Guy beat out an infield grounder with a foot slide with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Ella Twilley crossed the plate. Delmar had rallied back to defeat Connecticut champion Milford 4-3 in an East Region elimination game at Breen Field in Bristol on Tuesday.

“Going over replays in my head, there were plays here or there that could have changed the game,” Milford coach Brian Corris said. “If we had won 3-2, Maryland’s coach would be saying the same thing. There is a razor thin margin.”

Maryland will need to win twice on Wednesday to clinch a spot in the World Series. Delmar topped Maine 10-0 in its first game. Maryland lost to New York 2-1 in its second.

Milford was following a successful script before Maryland’s come back. It had lost its first state game then won four straight decisions to earn the title. New Jersey defeated Milford 5-0 in its region opener. It bounced back to beat Vermont 9-1 on Monday. It was one out away from topping Delmar.

Maryland’s Hayden Adkins kept hopes alive for coach Chris Shockley in the sixth when she singled to center on a 2-2 pitch. A passed ball and infield error brought courtesy runner Lynleigh Willing across with the tying run.

Averi Naugle followed with her fourth built-on-speed hit of the game. She stole three bases and scored runs in the first and fifth.

Maryland used four hits to take the lead in the home first. Guy had the RBI single, but Milford’s Abby Corris retired three straight batters with the bases loaded, the last on strikes.

Adkins’ fastball was tough to catch up to for Milford batters. She struck out nine.

“The pitcher for Maryland was outstanding. We could not square her up. We have 11 great hitters and she controlled us,” Corris said. “The more our batters saw her pitch, the more comfortable they became. We were able to play some small ball, run the bases aggressively. We got a suicide squeeze bunt down to get that third run in.”

Charlotte Doyle’s single tied the game for Milford in the fourth inning. It also began a merry-go-round of base runners that saw them take a 3-1 lead.

The rally began when Maddie Deldin worked out the first walk in the game on a 3-2 pitch. sacrificed. Deldin beat the throw back across the diamond to reach third. Rodriguez was hit in the foot on a 2-0 pitch and stole second.

Doyle garnered Milford’s first hit off Adkins with an RBI single to right. Abby Corris went to third on the play. Doyle headed for second and the throw from behind the plate was misplayed. Abby Corris scored; Doyle ended up at third.

Sarah Donegan put down a suicide squeeze bunt for a single to plate Doyle and take the score to 3-1.

Delmar made it 3-2 in the fifth. Corris, with a run in and two runners on base, got out of the jam with a fly ball and her ninth strikeout.

Milford’s Cassie Rodriguez was hit by a pitch to start the second. She went to second on Donegan’s grounder to first. Adkins stranded her there with a strikeout.

Corris said: “I think Maryland calls off the plate. We got the letter high strike. If girls are dealing, and pitchers are hitting their spots, it’s going to make for a long day. The strike zone was fair both ways.”

Roundup: Maryland will play Delaware at 1 p.m. Wednesday. The winner takes on the loser of the winner’s bracket game between New York and New Jersey at 4. The NJ-NY winner waits in the final to be played at 12 p.m. Thursday…Milford’s Sarah Donegan’s sacrifice bunt attempt in the top of the second caused a lengthy delay. At first called an infield hit, first base umpire Darren Weisse ruled the batted ball landed in the batter’s box before going fair. TV replay confirmed the call…Milford second baseman Emily Roos made an outstanding play on Ella Twilley’s foul liner behind the first base to open the fifth…Another replay of a play at first found Averi Naugle safe on a strong throw from third baseman Donegan in the Delmar fifth. Twitter: @blox354