District 4 to play for New England title Wednesday

Hannah DeSousa and Cassidy Boath had RBI hits in the top of the seventh inning to propel District 4 to a 2-0 victory over Seymour’s George J. Hummel Little League in the Junior League Softball Eastern Regionals at Stankye Field in Orange on Monday.

The host Connecticut team, District 4, made up of players from Milford, Orange and North Branford, met either Seymour, the Connecticut champion, or Peabody (Mass.) for the New England pool title on Wednesday at 11:30 a.m.

The victor will play the Mid-Atlantic pool winner  today (Thursday, Aug. 7) at 9:30 a.m. for a berth in the World Series to be held in Kirkland (Wa.) from Aug 10-16.

“This group is playing loose and having fun,” District 4 manager Frank Koshes said. “Being the host team means a lot to the players, getting to play in front of family and friends and representing our District.”

District 4 had defeated Rhode Island 14-0, and Seymour had topped Massachusetts 8-1 and Maine 10-0 coming into the contest.

Jenna Thomas opened the decisive seventh frame with a great at bat.

After pulling a long fly ball just foul down the left field line, she missed a double inside the right field line by a foot. Thomas then sliced a 3-2 pitch into left field for a single.

That was the sixth hit off Seymour’s Jenna Geffert, who had pitched her way out of every jam.

With that in mind, and with Emily Mullins pinch running on first base, Koshes, coaching at third base, made an aggressive choice when DeSousa doubled to the gap in left-center field.

Believing it would take a perfect sequence of relay throws to get the out at the plate, and with opportunities to score rare, Koshes was waving Mullin on all the way and she scored for a 1-0 lead.

Boath, after an infield pop, drilled a run-scoring double up the alley in left to make it a 2-0 game.

With the way Julia Haeckel was pitching, the advantage may as well have been five as the right hander had held the high-powered Seymour offense scoreless.

After Becca Johnson had a first-pitch single to open the home sixth, Haeckel fielded consecutive grounders and got the force outs to shortstop Nicole Koshes at second base before notching a strikeout to end the inning.

In the Seymour seventh, Geffert singled with one out, but Emily Muzyka at third base threw out Gina Ferrara and Thomas made a running catch on Ivy Geloso shot to the fence in left to close out the win.

Muzyka made the defensive play of the game in the bottom of the first inning.

Seymour’s Shari Minalga had opened the inning with a single, and one out later Rebecca Findley doubled to put two runners in scoring position.

Jovanna Hillman sent Thomas to the fence to snare her long drive and she made a strong throw to Muzyka, cutting the ball off.

Muzyka then dove to third base to get Minalga sliding back for a 7-5 rally-ending double play.

Seymour threatened again in the fourth after putting two runners on base with no outs on a single and the game’s only error.

Haeckel got a key strikeout before Tori Kellogg sent a sinking liner to left. After it was ruled she trapped the ball, Mullins made a quick throw to Muzyka at third to get the force out.

Haeckel caught a pop up to the right side to end the inning.

Geffert had retired the first eight batters she faced before District 4’s Carly Marchitto singled in the third only to be forced out.

Haeckel bunted her way on base to open the fifth and Muzyka reached on a two-out single to the hole at shortstop, but Mullins’ well-placed bunt up the first base line was well played by Seymour’s Chelsea Avila.

DeSousa singled to right field in the fifth only to be stranded at first. Amanda Mendillo singled to center with one out in the sixth only to suffer the same fate.

District 4 team members are Jenna Thomas, Nicole Koshes, Carly Marchitto, Sydney Senerchia, Emily Mullins, Madison Murphy, Emily Muzyka, Julia Haeckel, Amanda Mendillo, Kaitlyn Parisi, Cassidy Boath, Brooke Matysovsky and Hannah DeSousa. Team coaches are Carl Marchitto and Brian Haeckel.