By John Goralski
Coach John Bores makes no apologies for the two lopsided victories in the final week of the season. He doesn’t feel bad about his team’s 13 shutouts or their nine victories by mercy rule.
It can be tough to forge a championship team in the fires of a lesser conference, and that’s why Bores isn’t apologizing for his team’s dominance in the CCC West.
His team’s goals are much bigger than a conference banner.
“I’m looking for us to shut teams down,” said the coach. “I’m looking for clean games without any errors. I’m looking for our pitchers to hit their spots and for us to get the key hits. It’s about execution, and I think we did really well.”
Now comes the final test. With a pair of mercy rule victories over New Britain and Hall, the Knights enter the postseason with the best record in Class LL (19-1), but is that enough?
It’s a question that plagued the coach since last year’s loss in the state finals when mistakes plagues his young team. Bores doesn’t make his team’s schedule. He just tries to survive it, and he hopes that the lopsided blow-outs have prepared his team for the sure trials ahead.
“I have 13 players on the bench that can all play. The kids have come through all year, but it’s really hard to gauge because we don’t have a really talented conference,” said the coach. “I don’t want to be bad-mouthing other teams, but we haven’t had any real close games except for the Simsbury game that was 3-1. All the rest we’ve controlled.”
In the final week, Southington dominated. Jordyn Moquin followed a three-hitter, 18-0 win over New Britain with a perfect game in a five-inning, 16-0 win over Hall.
Natalie Wadolowski broke out with a 3-for-3 performance in the final game with a triple, a double, four RBI, and three runs. Every starter managed at last three hits over two games, and the Knights enter the postseason with a team batting average of .422. It’s enough to scare most teams, but is that enough?
Caitlin Downes enters the postseason with the best batting average in the state (.646). Kaitlin Paterson (.576) ranks in the top 10. Southington has 12 players hitting over .300. On paper, they look unstoppable. But are they?
“I’m very pleased with where we are right now, and we’ve earned everything we got,” said Bores. “I’m sure that, when the rest of the state sees that we’re winning by double-digit runs, it’s going to put them on notice, but we can’t take anyone for granted. We have to play one game at a time. We can’t listen to the newspapers or the parents when people start saying that we’re going to win the whole thing. We have to take it one game at a time. If we look past one team, that’s when we’re going to be going home.”
Shelton (8-12) will earn the first shot to topple the Knights on their home field with two 13-7 teams battling for the second chance. Is this the year that Southington breaks the postseason drought that stretches back to 2004? We’ll find out.
Bores isn’t ready to look past the first round.
“It all depends if we show up,” said the coach. “If we show up, we can play with anybody. It doesn’t matter who we face.”
Let the games begin…