The Perryville Little League junior softball all-stars won a second straight Maryland State Championship Thursday night, but it wasn't easy. It was a championship win that Perryville manager Mike Knell termed a "real dogfight."
Perryville needed an extra inning to earn this year's title, beating Halfway Little League, 2-1, in eight innings in Sharpsburg. Perryville will represent Maryland in the East Region Tournament, which begins August 2 in West Haven, Conn.
The winning run was scored by Ellen Little in the bottom of the eighth inning. Little drew a leadoff walk and after an out, Erin Murphy hit a solid ground ball toward shortstop. The ball took a hop and caught the Halfway shortstop in the chest. In the shortstop's desire to get the lead runner, her throw to the second baseman was off the mark and the ball rolled into right field.
Little, safe at second, then headed toward third base where base coach Knell sent her home with the game-winning run.
The game was scoreless through four innings, with Perryville going ahead 1-0 with a run in the fifth. Katie Fitzpatrick drew a walk and was replaced by Kyleigh Knell, a special pinch runner. Knell stole second base and moved to third on a passed ball. She scored on Little's RBI bunt.
Halfway's run came in the top of the sixth on a RBI extra-base hit into the gap.
Little and Emily Phillips had Perryville's two hits. Halfway collected five hits off Phillips, who pitched the entire eight innings for the win. Phillips struck out eight.
Manager Knell says his club squandered base runners early and the defense was very good. Murphy highlighted the defensive effort with a sliding catch along the foul line in the top of the eighth inning.
Perryville had beaten Halfway, 5-4, earlier in the tournament.