Milford edges Laurel in extras for Big League World Series championship
Each year, the teams come from far and wide to compete in the Big League World Series at the Pyle Center in Roxana. However this year, the ESPN-2 aired championship game featured two teams that didn’t have to travel very far at all — as USA East (Milford, Del.) edged Delaware District III (Laurel, Del.) in a 1-0 extra-innings victory that not only went down to the wire, but come down to a controversial call.
The two Delaware squads faced off last Saturday night as the rest of the world watched. Milford had punched their World Series ticket by winning USA East regionals in Massachusetts, while Laurel earned their bid in a series against 2013 Big League World Series Champion Millsboro to represent host District III.
The game was a rematch of the series pool-play opener last Sunday, when Milford had previously bested Laurel by just one run in a 6-5 slugfest. Less than a week later, the matchup proved to be quite a different game, though with a similar outcome, as Milford pitcher Shaina Reed and Laurel ace Regan Green squared off in a pitcher’s duel.
After seven-scoreless innings, Green would walk Milford’s Whitney DeMora to lead off the top of the eighth — her only walk of a 98-pitch, seven-strike-out performance. Two batters later, an RBI double from Cassetty Howerin scored DeMora, to give the East a 1-0 advantage that would prove to be the only run of the game.
“It couldn’t have come at a better time,” Howerin — who had developed a knack for doubles throughout the entire series — said of the hit. “It was the greatest thing in the world after all the little errors I made, to help my team get back up on the board.”
Green would eventually get her team out of the inning with no further damage done and leave Howerin stranded on second by striking out Reed, but Reed would answer from the circle in the bottom of the eighth to cap off a 100-pitch performance and seal the win for Milford.
Before the celebration came controversy, however, after District III leadoff hitter Alexis Hudson knocked what would have been a slap-double down the third-base line. Hudson made her way back to the dugout, however, after the home-plate umpire maintained that she had made contact with the pitch outside of the batter’s box and, as a result, was ruled out.
Unsurprisingly, the call was contested by players, fans and Laurel manager Brad Lee.
“What I saw was basically both feet in the box,” Lee asserted. “She made contact with the ball, and I thought it was a non-issue. I turned to move her to second base on something she would normally run on.”
The call wasn’t the only problem Lee had with the officiating. In an interview after the game, he went on to note that he believed the umpires were not suited for the World Series.
“The umpires took this game out of the girls’ hands — I don’t know why,” he said. “We’ve had some issues this week.”
After walking District III’s Hailey Andrews, Milford sealed the victory and their first World Series win with a line drive out to left field.
“Never in a million years did I expect myself to be here,” Reed said after the game. “It’s something you can’t describe. I’m so happy.”