Jenison sophomore Morgan Macek explained that she has hit home runs that have traveled further in the past.
None were bigger than the one she hit in Friday night’s Junior League World Series semifinal game in Kirkland, Wash, however.
Macek, who bats cleanup for the Georgetown Central All-Stars, slammed a two-run home run over the right-centerfield fence in the bottom of the ninth, giving her team an 8-7 win over Summerlin South Little League of Las Vegas, Nev .
Central will now play in Saturday’s championship game, will be televised live on ESPN2. In addition, Vitale’s of Hudsonville, 5779 Balsam Drive, will be hosting a watch party. Central will play the winner of Friday’s second game between Southeast and Asia-Pacific.
“First of all, I didn’t think it went over,” Macek said. “I thought it bounced over at first because there is a hill out there in the outfield.”
Macek broke into celebration once she realized what happened.
“I threw my hands up and the first thing I thought of was that we are now in the World Series championship,” Macek said. “I was nervous because we were down one. I knew I was going to hit the ball and it was going to go far. I just didn’t know it was going over the fence.”
Central had fallen behind 7-6 when it came up to bat. Rules state that teams open extra innings with a runner on second. With Central’s Claire Merritt on second and nobody out, Macek fell behind 1-2 on the count before drilling the homer.
“We had the choice of bunt or not,” Central coach Calvin Merritt said. “She was due for a good hit. She had been hitting the ball well, so we said go ahead, swing away. We gave her the green light, and she got the pitch she wanted and blasted it over right centerfield. She is a great hitter and she hit a good shot.”
Georgetown, which features players 13-14 years old, won an extra inning game in walk-off fashion in Thursday’s quarterfinal, beating Milford, Conn., 2-1 in 10 innings. Friday’s game proved just as tense as Central rallied from deficits four times.
West jumped out to a 2-0 first inning lead and led 3-1 when Central tied it in the third with a pair of runs. West added a run in the fourth but Central answered in its half of the fourth. Central scored in the fifth to take its first lead 5-4, but West rallied for two runs in the top of the seven to regain a 6-5 advantage.
But Central wasn’t done, forcing extra innings when Kaylin Reifschneider singled home Macy Alkema with two outs to tie the game at 6-6. Neither team scored in the eighth before West went up 7-6 with a run in the top of the ninth.
“They never quit,” Calvin Merritt said. “They get down, but they’re like, ‘We got this, we’re going to be OK.’ There’s always a chance until the last out. We have taken it to the last out several times now, but we have been OK.
“No matter who makes a mistake, there is someone there to pick her up. It’s always someone different. We have had some clutch plays by people who epitomize what teamwork is all about. That’s what great teams do. They work together and find a way to win.”
Claire Merritt pitched all nine innings to earn the victory. Merritt also had two hits and scored three runs. Macek, Alkema and Callie Naber all had two hits apiece.
Vitales is planning to host a homecoming party Sunday at 6 pm Stay tuned to Georgetown’s Facebook Page for updates.