Those in attendance for Tuesday night’s second game of the District One Juniors softball tournament, played at Donatoni Park field in Rockaway, will never forget the gutsy battle between two terrific pitchers.
Layla Moroses for Morristown National and Sarah Smith for the Rockaway/Parsippany Thunder pitched their hearts out for 10 innings each, producing one of the best pitching duels the Junior’s division has seen in years.
After nearly three hours of playing time, RP Thunder finally prevailed in the bottom of the 10th inning on a sacrifice fly, winning 3-2 and tying the series at one game apiece, forcing the Championship game on Wednesday, June 28, 2017, to decide the Juniors’ District One Championship.
Morristown took Monday’s opener, 4-0, at home.
Game 2 offered a little bit of everything, including a half hour rain delay, forcing both coaching staffs to decide whether to stick with their respective starting pitcher.
Thank goodness they did, as both pitchers gave the fans their money’s worth. Moroses allowed two unearned runs to cross in the bottom of the first and then proceeded to pitch lights out the rest of the way, weaving in and out of trouble, backed up by some steady defensive play.
For RP Thunder, Sarah Smith was equally sharp, managing the game very well, scattering 11 hits by Morristown. The Nationals finally were able to tie the game in the top of the 5th inning, loading the bases with two singles and a hit batter.
With two outs, Jade Davis delivered a laser line drive single to left field, driving in the tying runs and setting the stage for five more innings of nail-biting action.
Both teams had their chances as the marathon game continued, but both pitchers turned away threat after threat.
Moroses was particularly effective as the game went on, and got stronger with each passing inning. Her final line for the night was: 10 innings, 3 runs (only one earned), 6 hits, 2 walks and 11 strikeouts.
“Layla has always been a gamer and thrives on a big game environment,” manager John Cote said.
“She kept us in the game all night and we could not have asked for more from her. All the girls were in it as this was clearly the best game we have seen in years and we are all looking forward to the Finals.”
Wednesday’s championship game is at Park Road Field in Parsippany at 6pm.