LAUREL - Coming through in high pressure situations is often what separates the very good from the best.
After Milford Junior Baseball all-star Korey Mitchell not once, but twice, excelled in intense situations Sunday evening in Laurel against District II Canal, his team claimed the title of best in the state.
Mitchell delivered a game-winning RBI double in the top of the seventh inning and then pitched out of a jam in the bottom of the frame to lift District I Milford to a 2-1 victory and a state championship.
The win advances Milford to the Eastern Regional in Freehold Township, N.J., which begins next weekend.
"I was just trying to make contact and move the runners up," said Mitchell, whose two-out double plated Tyler Benton for the game-winning score. "Then I had to try and calm down so I could pitch."
After a leadoff base hit, a Milford error and hit batter in the bottom of the seventh allowed Canal to have the possible game-winning run on second and the tying score on third, Mitchell sent Matt McCormick down swinging with a full count strikeout to end the game.
"I had to take a step back and relax," Mitchell said of his thoughts before pitching to McCormick. "It's amazing just to represent Delaware."
Sunday's game, which was a continuation from Saturday's bout that was suspended due to rain, began in the bottom of the fourth with Milford leading, 1-0, but Canal having the bases loaded and two outs. Working in relief of starter Dustin Reeder, who was ineligible to pitch after throwing the day before, Tommy Jordan issued a RBI walk that tied the game at 1 but was able to get out of the inning without further damage when Canal's Robert Malkin lined out to left.
"That was incredible, allowing only one run there was a win," Milford Manager Kevin Mitchell said of Jordan's effort in the fourth. "We just had to remain focused. This wasn't the same team we played the first time."
Milford had defeated Canal 14-1 in the state tournament's opening round on July 25.
More on the game will be in our Wednesday, Aug. 1, print edition of the Milford Chronicle and the Monday, July 30, Delaware State News.