Westport 10U softball claims state championship
Updated 6:03 am, Tuesday, August 4, 2015
In order to deliver the town its first state softball title at any level since 1975, the Westport 10U Little League All-Stars needed to win back-to-back games against a tough opponent that hadn’t lost all summer.
Not only did Westport prevail, it accomplished the feat in two very different types of games.
First came a 9-6 high-scoring affair on Sunday, and 24 hours later Amanda Green held Waterford to one run in a 3-1 win in the decider at Old Tavern Complex in Orange.
Westport dropped the series opener 5-4, but rebounded to claim the title Monday despite generating just one hit.
“They were awesome, unbelievable,” Westport manager Jeff Green said. “This Waterford team came in undefeated ... these kids never lost hope. They were fired up.”
Westport (10-2) did draw six walks off Waterford pitcher Milena Walker, who struck out nine batters. The winning runs came in the first inning, when a leadoff walk by Gabby Lantier converted into a run on a throwing error. A second run scored on a walk soon after to give Westport an early lead.
“We took advantage of the pitcher’s wildness at times,” Jeff Green said. “We talked a lot about baserunning, about being aggressive on all the bases and being smart.”
Waterford had chances to take the lead in the early innings, but Westport pitcher Amanda Green worked in and out of trouble to preserve the lead.
“I was really nervous because I knew that if we lost that it would be over,” Amanda Green said. “But I was also confident in myself.”
The bases were loaded with one out in the second and a run already in, but Green struck out a batter and got another to ground out to end the threat.
The following inning Waterford had runners on second and third with two outs, but again the chance ended with a groundout.
“I knew the infield and outfield; if (Waterford) hit it they could help get the outs, and I knew I could do it too,” Amanda Green said.
Natasha Taubenheim added an insurance run in the fourth inning with an RBI groundout after a pair of runners walked.
Amanda Green went the distance for Westport, striking out eight batters and allowing six hits with a knee-buckling changeup.
“She’s been throwing that pitch for a couple of years,” Jeff Green said. “I think her older sister (Alison) might have taught it to her; she loves to throw it.”
Westport and Waterford also competed in the state championship series at the U12 level, with Waterford coming out on top in the third game.
But this time it was Westport’s time to celebrate an elusive title.
“My girls just never gave up; they wanted to play,” Jeff Green said. “When they went out in the sixth inning, I don’t think they knew what inning it was.”