Lady Knights stay perfect: Softball pushes winning streak to 62 games

Dani Ahern races to third base during a double-header blowout over Hall on May 15.

Dani Ahern races to third base during a double-header blowout over Hall on May 15.

By BRIAN JENNINGS
STAFF WRITER

After a week of five games in four days, the Lady Knights softball team (17-0) is still perfect and heading for yet another undefeated season.

The Knights kicked off the week with a 13-0 win over the NW Catholic Indians (6-10) in West Hartford on Monday, May 11.

Kaitlin Paterson went 4-for-6 with a homerun, two RBI, and three runs scored. Natalie Wadolowski went 3-for-5 with a homerun, a double, five RBI, and two runs. Lauren Zazzaro went 2-for-5 with a triple, a double, two RBI, and two runs.

Kendra Friedt pitched a complete game shutout for the Knights, scattering 16 strikeouts in a one-hitter.

“It was one of those days where everyone contributed,” said Southington coach Davina Hernandez. “Everyone had great at-bats and it was a really good team effort. NW Catholic made some really good plays in the outfield against us. They caught us off guard in the a little bit in the beginning. It took us a little while to get going with our bats, but once we got in the flow, we were good.”

A couple days later, the Knights traveled to Tunxis Mead Park in Farmington where they mercy-ruled the Indians (3-13) after four innings by their largest margin of victory on the year, 42-0. Southington sent 25 girls to the plate in a 22-run first inning, did everything within the rules to control the score, but blew out the Indians.

Arduini went 2-for-2 with six RBI and a pair of homeruns. The Knights finished the game with a total of 28 hits and 35 RBI. In the circle, Brenna Sarantides struck out five of the 12 batters she faced and allowed only one hit.

“I knew Kendra wasn’t going to pitch, and my starting catcher wasn’t going to catch. I brought up about eight girls from JV, and many of them have never played varsity before,” said Hernandez. “After we were up 2-0 or 3-0, we didn’t go on past balls, we didn’t steal, and we didn’t take any extra bases. I’m a good friend of their coach [Betsy Harvey]. I know some of the girls on their team really well and they’re great kids. It’s just a horrible situation.”

Despite the blow-out, Farmington’s athletic director called the Southington athletic department the following day to applaud Southington’s sportsmanship. “He had nothing but positives to say,” said Hernandez, “and that’s all that matters.”

The Knights returned to their home field on Thursday and hosted the Wethersfield Eagles (3-14) in a 10-0 win. Arduini went 2-for-4 with two runs and a triple. Sarantides had a triple and two RBI. The Knights finished with five triples and two doubles.

Friedt pitched a complete game shutout, throwing 14 strikeouts against 23 batters in another one-hitter.

“Wethersfield put the ball in play, and we made some really good plays,” said Hernandez. “I think that it’s really important that we’re ready to make those plays when they do put the ball in play. I think our outfield was great today on every opportunity that we had. Our first baseman had a really good jump on a bunt and after that, Wethersfield didn’t try to bunt. We set the tone defensively and that eventually carried over into our offense.”

The next day, the Hall Warriors (1-14) made the trip to Southington for a double header, but the Knights left their white home jerseys in their bags and wore purple jerseys in honor of coach Hernandez in a day dedicated to Lupus awareness. Hernandez addressed spectators in the bleachers before the start of the second game on a microphone with a heartfelt speech about her battle with the disease and the meaning behind the purple jerseys.

“As I was speaking, the girls were all lined up on the foul lines and a butterfly flew in between all of them,” said the coach. “That’s the sign of Lupus. When I looked over at them, all of their jaws were dropped. I asked the girls what had happened and they said, ‘You didn’t see the butterfly flying between all of us the whole time you were talking?’ It left as soon as I was done talking and I didn’t see it. That was awesome and it made me cry.”

For their part, Southington scrambled to a pair of lopsided victories, winning the first game, 19-0, and scoring a 20-0 win in game two.

Paterson went 7-for-10 over two games with six runs, three RBI, and a triple. Lauren Zazzaro capped the series with a homerun, two triples, and 10 RBI in the second game.

Friedt pitched a perfect game in the first game with 14 strikeouts over five innings. Sarantides pitched a complete game shutout in game two with 11 strikeouts in a two-hitter.

“It was definitely one of those days where every single kid contributed,” said Hernandez. “I love to see days like that where people are coming off the bench and girls are brought up from JV, hitting the fence in the air. Those are just the type of things you want to see as a coach; that depth that I keep talking about. I brought up several girls today. Not only did our starters do well, but everyone had a good day. We hit lots of line drives. I think we did a nice job staying together, adjusting to two different pitchers, and we made really good plays on defense whenever we had to.”

Southington hope to clinch the conference title this week with games against Simsbury (9-7), Newington (14-3), and New Britain (10-6).

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