Kimberly Steif scored on Brianna Jankowski's grounder to second, beating the tag by Levittown catcher Samantha Basile, to give the Wausau (Wis.) All-Stars an 8-7, eight-inning victory over the Slammers, who had come back from a late six-run deficit to tie the score. The loss ended Levittown's first World Series appearance with a third-place finish and put Wausau in Saturday's championship series against Wilson County, N.C.
Steif reached base when her grounder was bobbled to start the bottom of the eighth and advanced to third on an outfield error, setting up the winning run. The walk-off win for Wausau (7-1, 3-1 bracket play) avenged the team's only defeat, a walk-off loss to the Slammers (5-3, 2-2) Wednesday night.
Levittown coach Mike Gordek, who remained in the dugout 15 minutes after the loss, was proud of his team's effort. "They showed heart," he said. "We had so many opportunities early but just couldn't capitalize on them. Late in the game when we came back, I said, 'All right, maybe we're going to take this one.' But those two big mistakes in the last inning killed us."
Trailing 7-1 entering the sixth, the Slammers appeared to be down and out. Five hits, two walks and six runs later, the score was tied. The rally was highlighted by Alannah Basile's three-run double that cut the Slammers' deficit to 7-5. Basile scored on a single by Ashley Massoni and Levittown tied it on Shamar Sanchez's two-out RBI single.
The Slammers put the go-ahead run in scoring position in the seventh and eighth innings but could not score.
The Slammers stranded 11 runners in the first five innings before getting to Wausau's Sammy Laatsch in the sixth. Basile started the game on the mound but struggled, walking three and giving up four runs before being relieved by Massoni in the second.
Basile and Sanchez each went 4-for-5, tying the 16-Under Softball World Series single-game hits record.
"We played our hardest, and we're the first team from New York to ever make it this far," a tearful Sanchez said. "We never give up and we just kept going. We're proud of ourselves, but we could have definitely gone farther."
Levittown's run included two walk-off wins, two one-run losses, Massoni's perfect game and plenty of memories.
"We had a Christmas party in December and we said we wanted to be playing in Colorado in August," Gordek said. "The dream came true. We gave it all we had, but it wasn't enough."