By John Goralski
With just a 3-0 lead, John Bores watched expectantly as Conard’s runner took off for second base at the crack of the bat.
Third baseman Lauren Zazzaro scooped up the ball and fired it to second base. Kaitlin Paterson caught the ball and threw it to first, but Conard’s baserunner beat the double play by half a step.
These are the moments that Bores waits for in a year mired in lopsided blowouts. How will his Knights perform under pressure? This time they passed the test.
Southington is two games from clinching the top seed in the upcoming Class LL tournament, so Bores is on his guard for any key moment. That’s how a coach prepares his team for the postseason when a good game is hard to find.
“Those are key situations, but everybody is contributing—even those kids coming off the bench,” said Bores. “We’re taking it one game at a time, and trying to build. I think we had some good, quality at bats. We hit the ball, and we executed. That’s what I’m looking for.”
With three more wins this week, Southington has pushed their record to 17-1 with a perfect, 12-0 record in the CCC West. Only two games have been decided by fewer than two runs with just one conference game posing any challenge, so Bores waits for crucial moments…and waits…and waits…
“When you have superior talent, you should be doing what we’re doing and we’re doing it,” said the coach. “We just have to get through it and get ready for the tournament.”
On Monday, there were few moments of worry in a 15-0 win over Farmington that ended after five innings. Caitlin Downes went 3-for-4 and scored all four times. Rachel Harvey had five RBI with a pair of home runs. Jordyn Moquin scored a third home run for the Knights and combined with Kendra Friedt (1 inning) for a one-hit shutout.
The scored five runs in the first inning, four in the fourth and fifth, and crossed the plate in each of their five chances until officials stopped play in the fifth inning.
The victory was the first of three lopsided wins, but the next two did provide some early drama. Bores will take what he can get.
“My favorite thing to tell the kids is that the first team that gets to five runs is going to win,” he said. “I just have that much confidence in my pitcher and my defense. I know that we can play defense. Jordyn will hit her spots. She’ll make her pitches, and we’ll score enough runs to win.”
On Tuesday, it took five innings before the Knights scored their fifth run. Paterson led off with a single and stolen base as the Knights manufactured a run in the first inning. It took a string of timely hits to plate two runs in the second, and the game didn’t blow open until a five run rally in the fifth inning.
Paterson and Downes paved the way with three hits. Harvey and Caroline Burke scored two hits apiece, and Moquin struck out nine batters with just one hit in seven scoreless innings as the Knights rallied for a 9-1 victory.
“They are a scrappy little team, and I thought that Jordyn pitched tremendously again,” said Bores. “We’re getting spoiled. I told the kids that we can’t expect her to throw shutouts every game, but she is giving us a great effort every single time.”
On Friday, the Knights continued the sweep with another early challenge in Simsbury. The first time the teams met, Simsbury lost a 3-1 game in Southington. In the second meeting, the Trojans held the Knights to a 2-0 advantage until a late rally.
Moquin and Sara Carangelo scored three hits apiece. Six Knights combined for 11 hits, and Moquin allowed just three hits in the victory.
Simsbury was like a tournament game where we had to manufacture a couple of runs in the early innings,” said Bores. “That was good for us.”
The Knights can wrap up the top seed this week with wins over New Britain and Hall. Southington out-scored them 31-1 in their first meetings. Neither one is expected to pose a challenge, but Bores will take what he can get.