Wroten tosses shutout vs. Europe-Africa as District III makes Senior League Softball World Series semifinals

Manager Craig Kormanik addresses his District III girls prior to the team’s quarterfinals matchup Friday night. Delaware State News/Ben Heck

ROXANA — Taylor Wroten tossed a two-hit shutout with nine strikeouts and scored both runs in District III’s 2-0 Senior League Softball World Series quarterfinal victory over Europe-Africa on Friday night.

The win sets up a semifinals showdown between the defending champion Sussex County squad and U.S. Southwest at 8 p.m. today at Lower Sussex Little League.

“Everybody after pool play is here to win and they brought their best,” District III manager Craig Kormanik said. “Taylor was once again a workhorse out on the field, kept her composure and got it done.”

Taylor Wroten high-fives teammate Macy Layfield after scoring the game’s first run in the top of the second inning.

“I had nine strikeouts but tonight wasn’t really my best pitching outing,” said Wroten. “We just threw everything at them and my girls had my back like they always do,

“It’s good to have my own back, but I know I can’t do it by myself. I got on base and my girls hit me around and they had my back in the field. I think it was just a team effort all-around.”

“I think she did phenomenal,” said second baseman Jordyn DiFava. “She worked her butt off and stayed focused even when she was down in the count a few times.

“I thought it was amazing how we had her back, defensively, making outs. Everyone picked each other up and we played a good game so I’m really happy.”

District III’s offense collected six hits, including a pair from DiFava, and one each from Wroten, Ryleigh Elliott, Kayla Evans and Macy Layfield.

“Our lineup, when we call on them, anybody can step up and get the job done. That’s what the team is all about,” said Kormanik.

District III broke the scoreless tie on an RBI single to centerfield off the bat of Evans in the bottom of the second inning.

District III’s offense was held scoreless by Europe-Africa starting pitcher Esmee Toet in the third, fourth and fifth innings, recording just a pair of hits over that span.

Kylie Kruger follows through on a pitch during her first-inning at-bat.

It wasn’t until the bottom of the sixth inning that District III tacked on an insurance run as Layfield drew a bases-loaded walk to score Wroten and put her team ahead 2-0.

“I knew I’ve been in a really big hitting slump, so I knew I needed to step up and get it done,” said Layfield. “In my last at-bat, with the bases loaded, I knew that it was a close game and I needed runs to come in. Getting walked was better than popping out.”

Both of DDistrict III’s runs batted in came from the bottom of the lineup, with the eight-hitter Evans and nine-hitter Layfield providing them. They also combined for a third of the team’s base hits on the night.

“We hit from top to bottom, and when the top of the lineup is struggling or just are hitting the ball right at them, the bottom of the lineup picks up the slack. We’re strong all the way through,” said Wroten.

“It was amazing to see more of the team unity happening, with how we can count on any individual at any given point,” said DiFava. “We always have each other’s backs, even when we’re struggling, and our focus was just to encourage one another.”

With the team’s second shutout in five tournament games, District III (5-0) will match up with Southwest again. The two squads met in pool play Tuesday night, with District III coming away with a 2-1 victory in 12 innings.

Asia-Pacific facaes U.S. East at 5:30 p.m. in the other semifinal.

“Tomorrow we’re facing another incredible team with lots of talent,” said Kormanik. “We’re just taking it one pitch at a time, one out at a time and hopefully have fun and get it done.”

Cape/Georgetown falls to Md. at Junior League regional

Cape/Georgetown battled back from an early six-run deficit before falling to Maryland, 6-5, in the Junior League Baseball Eastern Regional on Friday evening.

The Delaware state champions are now 1-1 and are slated to face New Hampshire today at 4 p.m. in the double-elimination tournament being played in Freehold, N.J.

Maryland scored all six of its runs in the top of the second inning.

Cape/Georgetown answered with three runs in the third, one in the fourth and one in the seventh before falling short.

Kye Wells had two hits and a pair of RBI for Cape/Georgetown while pitcher Josh Reinhold struck out nine. Maryland, from Caroline North Little League, held a 6-5 edge in hits.

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