By BRIAN JENNINGS
The Lady Knights (7-1) came into the 2016 season with a streak of 70 games, needing just eight games to tie Seymour’s state record of 78 games. However that streak came to an end at home on Monday, April 25 when Fitch (8-0) defeated Southington, 2-0.
Win streak ends
After four scoreless innings, Fitch’s Nalissa Lynn Amar led the Falcons off with a double that came from the help of an outfield error. Amar came around to score after the Knights committed an infield error, as Cassie Woods safely made it to first base.
Later in the inning with two outs, Fitch’s pitcher, Caroline Taber, drove in Woods on an RBI double, giving the Falcons a two-run advantage.
“It’s just been a long-awaited matchup, and we came today,” said Fitch head coach, Arielle Cooper. “We’re here, we won, and it was a good day for us.”
Cooper said that Fitch has been asking to play Southington for a few years prior, but the game never fit into the teams’ schedules. The Falcons lost to No. 20 North Haven by a run, 2-1, in last year’s Class L championship game as the top seed in the tournament.
“Davina [Hernandez] gave us the chance to come out this year, and I couldn’t be happier,” said Cooper. “I think we need this for our season. Coming off of last season’s loss, this is something that’s going to prepare us to propel throughout the end of the year.”
And when the Falcons were approached about the streak, Cooper said that she really didn’t tell her girls about it.
“I’m sure my girls heard about it, but I didn’t tell them that we’re going to come out and end their streak,” said Cooper. “That’s not what this is about. This is just a softball game, and that’s what we came to play today. I’ve been impressed with Southington for the last three years. She’s [Hernandez] done a great job with these girls.”
Both teams totaled just three hits apiece in the game. Southington committed three errors and Fitch committed two. That was the difference.
Brenna Sarantides went 4.7 innings in the circle for the Knights, striking out two with two hits and two walks. Kara Zazzaro closed the game out, throwing two strikeouts and allowing a hit and a walk.
Taber pitched a complete game for the Falcons, tossing 11 strikeouts.
“We were very timid,” said Hernandez. “The only pitches we swung at for the first five innings were changeups. We didn’t swing at any fastballs or curveballs. Those are our pitches that we normally hit. As the game started going though, we started swinging the bats a little bit more and looked more like ourselves, but it was too late.”
Hernandez said that she didn’t want her team to go the rest of this season with all of the pressure, even if they had won the game against Fitch.
“They’re kids, and at the end of the day the pressure’s not on me. It’s on them,” said Hernandez. “And that’s a lot. I’m so proud of them regardless because they’ve done things that no team has ever done in Connecticut. They have so much to be proud of.”
Although the streak outweighed the implications of the game, Hernandez said that her team still learned a lot from the loss and that records are meant to be broken. She said the Knights will move on from the loss.
“Our senior class was freshmen when we had that loss to Bristol Central, and then it really ticked them off,” said the coach. “But for the rest of those three years, we didn’t lose a game. We have a lot to work on, but I also have high a lot of high hopes for this team. What happens after this loss is what’s really going to determine what our team is going to be like this year.”
The last time the Knights lost a game was a 4-3 loss at Bristol Central in the spring of 2013. The loss against Fitch was Hernandez’s first loss as the head coach of the Knights since taking the program over in the spring of 2014.
A week prior, Southington went nine innings at Torrington (6-4) on Monday, April 18, but prevailed in a 5-2 triumph.
In the top of the ninth, the Knights loaded the bases with one out and Janette Wadolowski drove in Michelle Woodruff and Natalie Wadolowski, eventually coming around to score on a base hit by Zazzaro.
Wadolowski went 3-for-4 with four RBI, two runs scored a homerun, and a triple.
Sarantides started the game and went six and two thirds innings, firing 12 strikeouts and allowing four walks, three hits, and two earned runs. Zazzaro was credited with the win by closing the game out with four strikouts.
The Knights totaled five hits and committed one error. Torrington totaled three hits and committed one error.
The next day, Southington ventured across the river to Glastonbury (3-3) where they shutout the Tomahawks, 8-0. The Knights did most of the damage in the early going of the game, putting up four runs in the first inning and three in the third.
Frankie Ferrante went 2-for-2 with a RBI. Sarantides pitched four innings and threw nine strikeouts, allowing a hit and a walk. Zazzaro came in relief of Sarantides to close out the contest with eight strikeouts, allowing a hit and walk as well.
Southington tallied six hits and committed one error. Glastonbury tallied two hits and committed two errors.
Showing Hall no mercy
On Thursday, Southington’s trip home game against Hall (0-4) lasted just five innings as the Knights mercy-ruled the Warriors, 16-0. The Knights posted five runs in the first inning, six in the second, and four in the fourth.
Woodruff went 3-for-3 with two runs scored and a RBI. Amanda Delorme went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and a RBI. Emily Mankus went 2-for-2 with three runs scored, a RBI, and a walk. Natalie Wadolowski went 2-for-2 with two RBI, a run scored, and a walk. Janette Wadolowski went 2-for-4 with three RBI and a run scored. Maighread Scafariello went 2-for-3 with two runs scored, a RBI, a walk, and a sacrifice fly.
The Knights will look to get back on track this week when they travel to Farmington (4-4) on Wednesday, April 27, Weaver (1-2) on Thursday, April 28, and Bristol Central (6-2) on Friday, April 29.
Southington is currently fourth in the Class LL rankings behind Cheshire (9-0), NFA (8-0), and Conard (7-1).