By BRIAN JENNINGS
The Lady Knights softball team ended their regular season at home on Monday, May 23, and they did it with style. The 26-0 triumph was their 12th shutout of the season. It was their sixth five-inning, mercy-rule drubbing. It was Brenna Sarantides’ first perfect game.
Now, comes the fun part. Can the Knights win another state title?
It wasn’t even close. Southington combined for 11 runs in the first two innings and added 16 runs during rallies in the third and fourth. Southington finished the game with 30 hits.
Megan Mahon went 3-for-3 with four RBI, two runs scored, and a double. Emily Mankus went 3-for-3 with three runs scored, a RBI, and a double. Natalie Wadolowski went 3-for-4 with three runs scored and two RBI. Brenna Sarantides went 3-for-3 with four RBI and a triple.
Sarantides pitched a complete game and threw a no-hitter with 12 strikeouts against 15 batters. She faced 15 batters and nobody reached first base.
“I was very happy with the way we finished out the regular season,” said Lady Knight coach Davina Hernandez. “I have been saying all along that how we bounced back from our one loss would be the indicator of what the rest of the season would be like. And the girls have only gone up from there.”
The No. 2-seeded Knights (18-1) received a bye in the first round of the Class LL tournament and will host the winner of No. 15 Newington (13-7) and No. 18 Ridgefield (12-8) in the second round on Wednesday, June 1 at 4pm. Cheshire (20-0) is the top seed. Southington also captured the CCC Central title with an 8-0 record in the Blue Division.
Hernandez said that the team was happy with their seeding in the state tournament, but there are several other teams that are strong on their side of the bracket.
“We know it’s not going to be an easy pass to the finals,” said Hernandez. “We are approaching each game one at a time, and are only focusing on our next opponent. We are also continuing to focus on our fundamentals with hitting and game situations on defense. We are trying to get better each day instead of remain the same going into the postseason.”
In order for the Knights to be successful throughout the tournament, Hernandez said that they have to remain disciplined at the plate, pitch consistently, and display great defense.
At the end of the 2016 season, Michelle Woodruff led the team at the plate by going 22-for-61 with a batting average of .361, 10 RBI, and 20 runs scored. Emily Mankus batted .396 and went 21-for-53 with 21 runs scored and 13 RBI. Natalie Wadolowski went 18-for-46 with a .391 batting average, 24 RBI, and 17 runs scored.
On the mound, Sarantides went 16-1 with an ERA of 0.43, 141 strikeouts, four complete games, and three shutouts. Kara Zazzaro went 2-0 with a 0.22 ERA with 61 strikeouts, and six saves.
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