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Cedar Mill is just one swing away

The District 4 champs come oh-so-close vs. New Jersey on Sunday
by: MILES VANCE, HIT THE BRAKES – Cedar Mill shortstop Madeline Fey slides home to score in front of East catcher Kayla Lombardo during her team’s 7-4 loss on Sunday.

PORTLAND - One swing of the bat.

That's all it would have taken to change Cedar Mill's fate at the Little League Softball World Series at Alpenrose Dairy in Portland.

The Cedar Mill Majors all-stars fell to 1-2 in pool play Sunday with a 7-4 loss to the East representative, Pequannock Little League of New Jersey. The loss effectively ended Cedar Mill's hopes of winning a berth in the Series semifinals.

'It's upsetting but we've got to come back and win tomorrow,' said Cedar Mill center fielder Katie Mardesich, who went 2-for-4 at the plate Sunday. 'We just didn't hit the way we should have.'

'The thing is,' added Cedar Mill manager Bob Ryder, 'should we have (won) this game, it still didn't necessarily mean we were seeded. With the run differential, we might still not have made it because of the first game.'

That said, Cedar Mill gave Pequannock - the eventual Pool A champion at 4-0 - a heck of a run.

Cedar Mill fell behind 3-0 in the top of the first inning, with Pequannock using an error, a bunt single by Dana Nielsen and a run-scoring sacrifice fly from Kayla Lombardo to go up 1-0. Deanna DeVito followed with an RBI double off Cedar Mill pitcher Jessie Moore, and Samantha DeVito closed out the inning with an RBI single up the middle.

Undeterred, Cedar Mill came back with a vengeance in its half of the first against Pequannock starter Raquel La Manna. Kim Ryder got things started with a leadoff walk, Moore added a one-out single and Ryder came home when the East shortstop misplayed Madeline Fey's grounder.

Then, after Erin Grey blooped a single to load the bases, Anne Marie Richards singled to drive in one run, Sarah Wilson brought home another on a fielder's choice and Annie Rosser singled over third base to give her team a 4-3 lead.

The East answered back, though, scoring the tying run on a Jaimie O'Rourke single in the second inning, adding two more in the third on a Ali Fichtler homer to left, then boosting its edge to 7-4 when Christi Jenisch singled and scored on a Cedar Mill error in the sixth.

But Cedar Mill wasn't quite done yet. Mardesich, Moore and Fey hit consecutive singles with one out in the bottom of the sixth to load the bases, but La Manna bore down, struck out Grey for the second out and got Richards on a liner to shortstop to end the game.

'We really wanted to win because we wanted to show how good we are to a team that hadn't lost yet,' said Moore, who went 3-for-3 and scored once. 'But I still know that we're better than that team.'

'For a second there, I thought we were going to pull it off, but not today,' Mardesich said.

'I've been saying that all year - these girls will not lay down,' Bob Ryder said. 'They won't put their heads down and they'll fight to the last and that's what you saw.'

For the game, Moore allowed 11 hits and one walk while striking out two, and gave up just three earned runs thanks to five Cedar Mill errors.

'We did have some errors, but I still believe we can win tomorrow and I'm proud of all of them,' Moore.