By BRIAN JENNINGS
It was another day at the office for the top-seeded Lady Knights softball team (22-0) as they cruised to a pair of lopsided wins in the Class LL state tournament. Southington out-scored opponents, 20-2, in the opening rounds to claim their spot in the Class LL final four.
After receiving a first-round bye, the Knights hosted No.16-seed Ridgefield (14-8) on Thursday, June 4, and the girls came away with a 10-2 win.
Maighread Scafariello went 3-for-3 with three RBI and a double. Bella Russo went 2-for-2 with a RBI, triple, and sacrifice bunt. Lauren Zazzaro went 2-for-3 with two runs, a RBI, and a triple. Dani Ahern went 2-for-3 with two runs, and a RBI. Kaitlin Paterson went 2-for-4 with two runs, a RBI, and a double.
“I just told the girls after the game that we didn’t swing at one pitch out of the zone today,” said Southington coach Davina Hernandez. “They started cheering after I said it because they know how important it is, and how much it means to me. That, in a close game, is definitely going to be a deal breaker. That was a deal breaker in the state championship last year. In the championship game, we were chasing balls over our head, but towards the end of the game, we stopped. Amity continued to chase balls and that was really why we ended up winning that game.”
Kendra Friedt pitched a complete game, throwing 11 strikeouts against 28 batters faced, allowing two hits and one earned run. Southington took a 5-0 lead into the fourth inning before surrendering two unearned runs during a rare defensive lapse.
The Knights moved on to the quarterfinal where they hosted No.9-seed Trumbull (17-6) for a 10-0 shutout victory on Saturday.
“When you have a lead, you can work on some things that you may need to use in the next 0-0 game,” said Hernandez. “I said I was going to be aggressive and send guys. I started sending them, so that they could work on their turns and slides. I want us to have those bang-bang plays. All year long, we’ve had two, maybe three girls that have big games. Every tournament game that we’ve played so far, everyone collectively has come together and has had a great at-bat. What more can you ask for?”
Emily Lippincott went 3-for-3 with two RBI, one run, and a sacrifice bunt.
“I don’t think I’ve ever gone 3-for-3 all season so that was a big accomplishment for me,” said Lippincott. “Their pitcher was a good, decent, pitcher with speed faster than most of the pitchers we see in the regular season. She wasn’t overpowering, but it was a decent speed where I felt I was able to time it pretty well. This was an awesome game and I’m just glad that my team was able to dominate and come out with the win.”
Lauren Zazzaro went 2-for-4 with three RBI, one run, a triple, and a double. Paterson went 2-for-4 with a run and a double.
Friedt pitched a complete game and a shutout from the circle by throwing 17 strikeouts against 24 batters and just missed a no-hitter by one hit.
“At this point, I don’t even notice if I have a no-hitter. I just focus on the game, because getting the win is more important than any personal stats of mine,” said Friedt. “I know that if they hit the ball, the infield will make plays, or I’ll strike them out. I really think that I have strong defense behind me. If they do score a run, my team is on fire offensively. One run wouldn’t matter in a 10-0 game.”
With the victory, Southington pushed their program-best winning streak to 68 games, including the current 46-game win streak for the still-unbeaten Lady Knight coach.
The Knights will play No.4-seed South Windsor (19-3) in the semifinal this week at DeLuca Field in Stratford.