The Jaguars scored first, tied the game in the second at 2-2, and later trailed 5-4, but Smyrna High pulled away to win 16-7. Appo ends an impressive season with a 20-2 record.
The Appoquinimink High School softball team led early and battled back after Smyrna surged ahead, but the Jaguars eventually fell to the Eagles 16-7 in the state championship game today.
After a 17-1 regular season, the Jaguars were seeded fourth in the tournament, and they powered through the bracket with a young team that only has two seniors.
They won their first-round game 11-3 over No. 13 Mount Pleasant, their quarterfinal game 8-2 over No. 12 Delmar, and then upset top-seed Caravel 6-5 in the semifinals -- their second victory over Caravel this season.
The second-seeded Eagles came into the championship on a similar roll, posting a 17-1 regular season that included a win over Caravel, then winning three tournament games by scores of 4-1, 3-1 and 8-0.
Appoquinimink pounced on the Eagles in the top of the first inning, with a double by Mallory Weir and a run-scoring single by Brooke Miller for a 1-0 lead.
Smyrna responded in the bottom of the inning with a bunt single, followed by a bunt out that moved the runner to second. Then a triple knocked in one run, and a single scored the runner from third to give Smyrna a 2-1 lead.
In the top of the second, Appo tied the game at 2-2 with a double by Madison Bauerle that knocked in Madeline Olivas who had singled.
Smyrna answered with a two-run homer, followed by three singles and another run a for a 5-2 advantage.
Appo bounced back in the top of the third as Tayler Vitola tripled and scored on a double by Weir to make the score 5-3. After a fly out, Smyrna changed pitchers, but Weir scored another run on an error to pull Appo to within 5-4.
In the bottom of the third, an Eagle singled and then the next batter hit a ground ball. The runner from first collided with the fielder at second base on a controversial play but the runner was called safe.
The next Smyrna batter hit a home run to give the Eagles an 8-4 lead. Then Smyrna tacked on three more runs with two singles, a two-run double and an RBI single.
Trailing 11-4 in the top of the fourth, Appo rallied with two outs, taking advantage of some Eagle fielding miscues that put two runners on base. Then Weir ripped a run-scoring double, and Miller pounded another double that knocked in two more runs to make the score 11-7.
Smyrna pulled away again in the bottom of the fourth with a two-run single for a 13-7 lead.
In the top of the fifth, the Eagles retired the Jaguars without allowing a run, and then the Jaguars returned the favor in the bottom of the inning.
Smyrna shut down the Jaguars again in the sixth.
Then the Eagles tacked on three more runs with two singles, a run-scoring single and a two-run double for a 16-7 advantage at the end of the sixth.
In the top of the seventh, the Jags' first batter, Alicia Bruce, ripped a single past the third baseman, but the Eagles retired the next three hitters to end the game.