Caravel edges Sussex Tech 2-1 in softball final

MILFORD — It was supposed to be a slugfest.

Instead, it turned into two teams playing strong defense behind solid pitching performances midday Saturday at Milford High School.

Top-seeded Caravel (19-3) plated a pair of first inning runs, and senior pitcher Holly Brooks, with the help of her defense, made them hold up in a 2-1 victory over No. 2 Sussex Tech. The win gave Caravel its first softball state championship since 2011 — that year the Buccaneers defeated Smyrna 4-2 in the title game — and 10th overall.

“I can’t express how proud I am of this entire team,” said Brooks, who also accounted for Caravel’s first run of the game with a RBI single to right that plated senior Samantha Esper in the opening frame. “We just didn’t give up this entire season, this entire tournament round. We’ve just given 100 percent. It was a team effort and the best thing ever.”

The eventual winning run came home in the form of courtesy runner Kayla Sobolak. Running for freshman catcher Nicole Marcon, who was hit by a pitch, Sobolak scored on Jennifer Sieminski’s RBI single. Sieminski had fallen behind in the count 0-2 before working it even and then slapping a Taylor Wroten off-speed offering to right.

Prior to Caravel’s first inning rally, Sussex Tech (18-3) had loaded the bases with one out in the top of the frame. Brooks, however, struck out Ravens freshman Jakayla Sample and induced a Rylee Shockley groundout to end the threat.

Brooks also got out of a jam in the second when the Ravens had runners on second and third but couldn’t get them home.

“They played a good, clean, error-free game,” said Ravens coach John Marvel, who returned to the position prior to this season. Marvel last coached Sussex Tech in 2012 when the Ravens defeated Caravel in the state championship game. He stepped down to pursue a teaching job at another school.

“You have to give Caravel all the credit. They played really great today.”

Sussex Tech halved Caravel’s lead in the top of the third when senior Taylor Collins doubled and later scored on a Shockley base hit. Brooks, however, dug in from there and retired 12 of the last 13 batters she faced in the complete game victory.

Not to be outdone, Wroten settled down after surrendering the first inning runs and kept the Buccaneers off the board the rest of the way. Only a freshman, Wroten said that while she and the Ravens were disappointed with the loss, they will take with them into next season the experience gained from reaching a state championship game.

“We’ve had a really good season, it just didn’t end up how we wanted it to,” Wroten said. “I’m going to remember this game, and I know we’re going to be back here next year. I know we have the fight in us and the coaching staff to do it, and after this year we have the motivation too.”

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