Shortstop Jenny Hickey had three RBIs and Melissa Ward allowed one unearned run and struck out five in a complete game victory for the New Hyde Park Allstars, which defeated Robbinsville (NJ), 4-1, in the East Region championship of the Little League Softball World Series Friday night. NHP advances to the LLSBWS, held in Portland, Ore. from August 8-15 for the first time and will face the Asia Pacific champions (ILLAM Central LL from Makati City, Philippines) on Aug. 9.
“It’s hard to even imagine,” said third-year coach Tom Donnelly. “I have no idea what to expect.”
Robbinsville gave NHP its only defeat of pool play, a 1-0 loss on Monday and Donnelly said his squad expected another close game in the finals.
“We felt like we outhit them the other day,” he said. “They made some good plays defensively. We were definitely confident.”
With two outs and runners on second and third, Hickey (1-for-3) hit an RBI-single to score Hannah Arkin and put NHP up 1-0. Hickey came up with the bases loaded in the fifth and reached on an error which allowed Arkin (2-for-2, two runs scored) and Emma Nidermeier (2-for-2) to score and made it 3-0. Hickey, who later scored to make it 4-0, had an RBI-single in the third to put NHP on the board 1-0.
“We were expecting a low-scoring game and we ended up getting that one big inning,” Donnelly said
Ward scattered four hits and walked one in six innings. She threw 80 pitches (51 strikes) and struck out five while not allowing a run until an RBI-groundout in the sixth.
Donnelly said his team’s success is due to the pitching duo of Ward and Hickey, who allowed on earned run in seven games, and the team’s speed.
“We have a lot of team speed,” he said. “We had a lot of great athletes that play a lot of sports.”