The Canfield 13-14-year-old softball team is one win away from clinching a berth in the Junior League World Series championship game.
Thursday, Canfield defeated Femenil Mexicali Little League, 7-2, in a quarterfinal game at Everest Park.
Canfield’s reward is a rematch tonight against undefeated Tampa, a team that defeated them 17-2 in pool play on Monday.
“The girls are ready,” Canfield manager Kerry Durkin said of the rematch. “They want another shot at [Tampa].
“They felt like they didn’t give their best effort the first time, so they’re not shying away from it — they’re excited to play against them.”
Durkin was very pleased with his team’s performance leading into the rematch.
Mexico’s pitcher Rosa Lopez walked the bases loaded to start the game, but Canfield was only able to get one run before being retired.
In the second inning, Maura Kennedy hit a bases-clearing triple to put Canfield ahead, 4-0.
Amelia Manenti doubled her home two pitches later to give Canfield a five-run advantage.
“Coming off [Wednesday] where we only scored one run, that really put the team at ease,” Durkin said. “We really put it on them pretty good that inning and I think that really relaxed them.”
Durkin felt pretty good with that lead, with how his pitchers were rolling. Kayla Troxil pitched four shutout innings, striking out five and walking two. Bridget Durkin, who came in to finish, gave up one run in the fifth inning and another in the seventh.
“Our defense was solid, we had some really good catches in the outfield which was nice,” Kerry Durkin said. “After our start, everything kind of fell into place.”
Canfield will have its work cut out in the semifinal. Tampa has outscored its opponents 65-15 in five games. They’re the only undefeated team in the tournament.
With the Philippines victory over West Cumberland, N.J., in another quarterfinal game, Pool A has made Junior League history with all four of its representatives reaching the semifinal for the first time.