Havre de Grace Little League won a Maryland State Softball Championship Thursday night in Hancock.
The 15-16 (Senior) All-Stars beat Tri City Little League, 5-3, to complete an unbeaten run in the state tournament.
In any normal year, Havre de Grace would head to the Eastern Region Tournament in Massachusetts, but in this COVID affected season, state tournaments are as far as teams can go. Only 11-12 (Major) baseball can go deeper.
One other Havre de Grace team, the 13-14 (Junior) Softball All-Stars is also still alive in state tournament play. Havre de Grace plays Friday night at 6 p.m. and with a win, will play Saturday for the title. Havre de Grace will have to win twice Saturday to be state champions.
In the 15-16 team win, Havre de Grace jumped ahead in the first inning with Bri Walls driving in two runs with a double.
Pitcher Madison Johnson took over from there. Johnson threw all seven innings, allowing three hits and three runs (two earned), while striking out seven.
“I am so glad I have these girls by my side while we play the game we all love, we played together and had fun,” Johnson said. “This team is another family to me, all the players, coaches and parents.”
Walls, Mischa Spencer and Kinsey Mentzer led the winners with two hits apiece. Spencer scored three runs, while Johnson and Walls scored a run each.
“From Day One of the District games I knew that our team was something special. We are blessed to have the bond that we share and I wouldn’t want to play softball with any other girls. We came to fight from the first game to the last and were motivated to bring home a district and state title for our injured center fielder who ages out of the program this year,” Walls said. “I’m so happy we were able to do that and so thankful for our coaches who are the absolute best, Havre de Grace Little League and all the community for the amazing amount of support we received. Seeing the smiling faces of my teammates running toward me when we won Thursday night is something I will never forget.”
Tatyana Sanchez is the teammate Walls referenced. Sanchez suffered a broken leg in a slide in to home plate during the District 5 Tournament. The team rallied around their injured teammate to win the district and state titles.
“I am so grateful I have my coaches and teammates by my side the whole time in my recovery,” Sanchez said. “Breaking my leg sucked, but seeing them play with passion and seeing them fight hard for me and not giving up, means the world to me.”
Havre de Grace team members are Mischa Spencer, Lanie Mentzer, Kinsey Mentzer, Madison Johnson, Ciara Finley, Laura Hughes, Kirstin Roth, Alysa Kaptain, Katie Burr, Bri Walls and Taty Sanchez.
The manager is Chris Mentzer and coaches are Chuck Burr and Fred Hughes.
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“The chemistry these kids had playing together was special and fun to watch. We knew it wouldn’t be easy with the obstacles put in front of them, but they never lost sight of their goals,” manager Chris Mentzer said. “The coaches and I are so proud of all 11 of these girls. They fought for each other till the end to earn that title.”