USA Central wins second consecutive Senior League World Series
When the ESPN cameras set up at last weekend’s Senior League Softball World Series championship game in Roxana, the District 11 team from South Bend, Ind., representing USA Central couldn’t have been too rattled. After all, they had been in the same situation before — just last year, when they were crowned Senior League World Series Champions on the exact same field.
This year, however, the Central squad had to get past USA West pitcher Macey Newbary — who had racked up 16 strikeouts in the Missoula, Mont., squad’s 7-2 victory over Asia-Pacific in series pool play earlier in the week.
In the matchup on Saturday, Newbary would square off against Central pitcher Nichole Kirkpatrick, who would help lead Central to a 5-0 victory from not only in the circle, but from in the batter’s box, as well.
Not only did Kirkpatrick allow only two hits, but she also tallied two hits, as well — one for a double. Notably, she also struck out six batters in the shutout victory.
Both Kirkpatrick and Newbary kept runs off the board until the fourth inning, when South Bend’s Mackenzie Shields scored on a passed ball to put Central up 1-0.
The defending champs would capitalize on their small-ball abilities, adding three more runs in the fifth inning, to further their lead to 4-0.
A sacrifice bunt led to the fifth score for Central, as USA West failed to find an answer offensively.
For South Bend, their second consecutive World Series championship also marks the team’s ninth year in a row representing USA Central. Other than last year’s championship victory, the Central team hadn’t reached the finals since 2007.