Nothing as trivial as a hurt leg was going to slow down Orange's Jill Demaio. And her spirit set the standard for the West Haven team's high-flying 6-4 win over Puerto Rico Wednesday night. The win will keep them in competition for the Junior League Softball World Series semifinals in Kirkland, Washington.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, one of two innings that saw West Haven first pack the bases and then bring multiple runners home, Demaio injured her leg while trying to advance. But she stayed in the game -- and proved indispensible, putting out two of Puerto Rico's runners in the game's last inning.
This week, the five Orange girls on West Haven's District 4 Junior League softball team -- Demaio, Katie Koshes, Teresa Marchitto, Addie Robbins and Janaya Young -- have led the way on a team with widely varied strengths.
On Wednesday, starting pitcher Koshes, who led the team to a win against Eagle Pass on Monday, pitched another full winning game. After allowing two runs in the first inning, Koshes buttoned down. She struck out the best players Puerto Rico had to offer, ending the game with 11 strikeouts.
In the action-packed third inning, Marchitto gave the team its first hit of the game, a line drive to left field, kickstarting one of two dominant innings that would give West Haven its six runs. After packing the bases, a triple from Amy Chacho off a Puerto Rico error let Marchitto, Koshes and Alexa Dawid score.
It's the high level of play fans have come to expect from the Eastern Regional champions -- and from the . But they're not guaranteed a spot in the semifinals yet. Puerto Rico will face Nunaka, Alaska, who beat West Haven 8-5 Tuesday. If Alaska wins, Orange is in -- in which case, Patch will follow both semifinals and (if necessary) finals games this weekend.
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