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Shine time! Milford LL softball All-Stars on Series stage in afterglow of Juniors' fame

Updated: Aug 6, 2023

By Rick Menning

While the spotlight has shone brightly on the Milford Junior League softball All-Stars' rise to national prominence, it's now the Little Leaguers' turn to bask in the limelight and make their World Series memories.

Just one day after the United States champions left Kirkland, Washington following congratulatory handshakes with the victorious Philippines squad in their World Series final, the 10-13-year-old standouts were on the Stallings Stadium diamond Sunday afternoon for their World Series play in Greenville, North Carolina.

OPENING DAY: The New England Region champions from Milford went on the offensive with red-hot bats in their round-one triumph over Milano, Italy on Sunday. (Photo courtesy of Milford Little League.)

Competing in their opening challenge of the Little League Softball World Series against Milano, Italy at Elm Street Park, the New England champions made a definitive statement that they plan to be a bigtime factor in the international tournament.

Milford, which has won 13 of its 14 All-Star tournament games going back to districts, erupted for seven runs in the third inning and cruised past Milano, Italy, 11-1.

The win slotted manager Bryan Glynn's team into a Monday prime-time showdown against Massapequa Park, New York, the Mid-Atlantic Region title holders. First pitch in front of an expected huge crowd and national television audience on ESPN+ is scheduled for 7 p.m.

After charging out of the gate with a pair of runs in the first inning, the girls from District 4 and Section 1 in southern Connecticut put the pedal to the metal with five of their 10 hits unleashed in that big third inning.

Keeping the line moving

A total of 11 batters came to the plate, highlighted by Marina Cosmas and Emily Speringo each smashing two-run singles.

Emma Bonanno's line-drive single to right/center got things started and, after Grace Weber reached on an error leading to runners moving to second and third, Maja Brown ripped an RBI single to left and Sammy Marini followed with a run-scoring fielder's choice.

That set the stage for Cosmas' and Speringo's combined four RBI.

Another key to that inning was the New England representatives' aggressiveness on the basepaths which continually put runners in scoring position.

Milford had already led 2-0 after one inning, thanks to Marini's leadoff single to left and subsequently being driven in on an RBI slingshot to right field by Cosmas. New England's catcher then raced home on a fielder's choice.

The final two runs crossed the plate in the top of the sixth inning when Riley Fagan-Davies and Emily Speringo -- the two returning players from last Year's World Series squad -- propelled back-to-back doubles to provide the closing firepower. Fagan-Davies' two-bagger came via a blast to the fence in left, while Speringo targeted the inside of the right-field line with a missile.

Cayleigh Glynn, who closed out Milford's scoring in the third inning with an RBI single to left, contributed another clutch base hit in the sixth and later scored on a wild pitch.

Pitching and gloves again

Grace Weber -- who went undefeated at the regional in Bristol with a 3-0 mark inside the circle -- and Dani Kotansky each pitched three innings for New England and combined for six strikeouts.

Web gems were in abundance as the Milford fielders continued to excel with the leather as they have along the entire All-Star tournament trail.

Audrey O'Connell made two sensational plays at second base, and right fielder Sammy Marini had the crowd on its feet with a sliding catch while on the run over in foul territory.

Shortstop Holly Coon, who after running over to her right to make the grab on a sinking liner in the first inning, was a highlight reel of action in the sixth inning as she made all three putouts with great plays on a grounder and two lineouts.

Juniors battle to the end

Despite being shut down by Bago City in the Junior League Softball World Series final game, the Milford girls made their presence felt and showed a tenacity deserving of their status as one of the two best teams on the planet.

CURTAIN CALL: The Milford Junior League Softball All-Stars were a major force in Kirkland, Washington as they won six of seven games enroute to the United States championship. (Photo courtesy of Milford Little League).

Although the scoreboard displayed 3-0 for the Philippines when the last pitch was thrown on Saturday evening, the U.S. East delegation kept their mindset focused on the task at hand and hung tough for the entire seven innings.

Pitcher Abby Corris was once again a warrior inside the circle with eight strikeouts, and the Milford fielding came through with one clutch play after another when needed most.

Catcher Chloe Capalbo threw out two runners trying to steal second base in consecutive innings to keep the game close. She teamed up with shortstop Gabby Rodriguez on both 2-to-6 putouts.

Bago City struck first offensively in the second inning with a run and had the bases loaded when Abby Corris went into battle mode and struck out the side. The Philippines girls added two insurance runs in the sixth inning.

Meanwhile, the ladies from Connecticut were limited to three hits, two of which resulted in the only threat of the game as Lily Stankevich (bunt base hit) and Gabby Rodriguez (single up the middle) reached base to lead off the fifth inning.

Maddy Bonanno blooped a single to short right in the seventh inning as Milford finished their World Series competition with a 6-1 record.

Our World Series gladiators!

Milford Junior League Girls Softball United States Champions Team Roster: Maddy Bonanno, Norah Bove, Chloe Capalbo, Abby Corris, Leah Corris, Maddie Deldin, Ariella DiOrio, Maya Fallon-Silva, Nyla Jaser, Gabby Rodriguez, Julia Scibek and Lily Stankevich.

Milford Little League Girls Softball New England Champions Team Roster: Emma Bonanno, Maja Brown, Holly Coon, Marina Cosmas, Riley Fagan-Davies, Cayleigh Glynn, Dani Kotansky, Sammy Marini, Addie McKenna-Hansen, Audrey O'Connell, Emily Speringo and Grace Weber.

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