ROXANA, Del. -- Hello, world, meet the Zootown All-Stars.
You'll get a chance to see them up close and personal Saturday when they play on national television in the title game of the Senior League Softball World Series. Zootown advanced with an 11-0 semifinal win over the host Millsboro-Georgetown All-Stars on Friday evening. The game ended after five innings via the 10-run margin rule.
Zootown will take on the Central Regional winners from Escanaba Little League of Michigan in Saturday's championship at noon mountain time. The game will be televised live on ESPN. The Central team downed the East champions from Bristol Boro Little League of Pennsylvania 2-1 in Friday's other semifinal.
It's the second straight season Zootown has advanced to the title game. The All-Stars came up on the short end in last season's championship.
"It feels like a whole different tournament, we have all new friends," said Zootown's Kendall Rauk, a member of the team that lost in the title game last season. "Being here again is a dream come true.
"Our goal 100 percent is to win. It's not going to be easy. We've trained for it and worked for it and if we all play like we can, we can get it."
Zootown, 5-0 in the tournament, already handled Escanaba 11-1 in six innings during pool play. The All-Stars have outscored their opponents 50-5 in their five wins.
Still, manager Dennis Staves doesn't believe his team will be over-confident.
"These kids have been around quite a while and they know not to take anybody for granted," Staves said. "That will be talked about in the morning. They know what they want and they want it bad."
Zootown wasted little time Friday evening, scoring five in the first and three more in the second to take an 8-0 lead.
Jaime Schafer and Taylor Holmes worked bases-loaded walks to drive in the first two runs and Rauk was hit by a pitch to make it 3-0 before the hosts had even recorded an out. Another run scored on Sierrah Hardy's fielder's choice and the fifth run was scored on a sacrifice fly.
The lead grew to 8-0 in the second courtesy of Holmes' three-run homer over the center-field fence.
"It was pretty amazing," Holmes said of the homer. "With two on base, we needed a couple of extra runs. It was nice to get the job done. It was a fastball on the outside corner, my favorite pitch, so it was perfect."
Holmes' shot was a line drive.
"It got about 20 feet off the ground," Staves said. "They worked the pitchers over pretty good. The first pitcher got a little shook and we took advantage of it and kept rolling."
Zootown kept pouring it on in the third. Quincy Preston and Macy Newbary singled and Adessa Gagner drew a walk to load the bases. Callie McKillop doubled to left field to drive in two and Gagner came home when the Delaware team tried to throw out McKillop at second, making it 11-0.
The big lead allowed Staves to take Newbary out of the pitcher's circle after three innings to keep her fresh for Saturday's championship game. She allowed just one hit and two walks while striking out five. She threw 51 pitches. Kaylee Rosenbaum kept the hosts off the board for the final two innings.
"That was one of the biggest things for us," Staves said of resting Newbary's arm. "They came out playing the way they can play. When this team is cranking on all cylinders it's tough to beat."
Just one game stands between the All-Stars and a World Series title.
"We're definitely motivated," Holmes said. "We have some unfinished business. We're really excited for the championship game and hoping to get a 'W.'"