By KEVIN ROBERTS
Southington softball coach Davina Hernandez said she has been looking to for her team to respond quickly when an opponent scores. The Lady Knights did just that in a 6-1 home win over Farmington on April 17. It was the only game Southington played last week, and it improved to 5-1.
The Indians scored a run in the top of the first inning when an outfield error turned a single into a single and two-base error. That error proved costly as Farmington scored and claimed an early 1-0 lead.
Chrissy Marotto tripled to lead off the bottom of the Southington first, then scored on Nicole Greco’s grounder. The Knights left Abby Lamson at second base after her two-out double, but they tied the game.
“The important part in my mind as a coach is that we answered back right away when they put up that one run,” Hernandez said. “We got it back immediately, and that’s something that we’ve really been trying to do is answer back as soon as somebody scores on us.”
Marotto’s RBI single in the second gave Southington the lead for good. The Knights scored two runs in the third on back-to-back RBI singles from Lamson and Diane Williams to go ahead 4-1.
Second baseman Alex Rogers made a terrific diving in short center field to end the top of the fifth inning. Farmington had a two-out rally going and could have pulled closer. Instead, Southington retained its three-run lead.
“It definitely kept the game where we wanted to keep it,” Hernandez said of the Rogers catch.
Lamson added another RBI single in the bottom of the fifth to increase the lead to 5-1.
“We had a lot of singles, which I liked,” Hernandez said. “You get in trouble when you try to hit the big ball all the time, so I was glad to see a lot of hits up the middle.”
There were a few extra-base hits, and Katie Gundersen’s two-out double kept the sixth inning going. Gundersen scored when Gianna Perugini’s grounder to second base was mishandled to make the score 6-1. Southington finished the game with 10 hits and forced Mihalek to throw 96 pitches in six innings.
“We did a good job fouling off pitches, then driving the pitches that we needed to drive,” Hernandez said.
Lamson was 3-for-3 with a run scored and two RBI to lead the offense. Marotto was 2-for-3 with a run scored and run batted in, and Gabby Malachowski added a triple.
Julia Theriault pitched the first two innings to pick up the win. She gave up one unearned run on two hits and struck out one. Julia Panarella fanned four batters over three hitless innings of relief, then Sam Sullivan pitched two scoreless innings (one hit, two strikeouts) to close the game out.
Hernandez said there were still some little things that could be done better. A Southington runner was caught off of first base on a fly ball for a double play, which kept the Knights from doing further damage in the third inning.
“This game, a lot of it is reaction,” Hernandez said.
Southington will get better, especially when it gets on a more consistent schedule.
Up next: The Knights had their Monday home game against Newington postponed until Tuesday, May 14. Southington had one other game scheduled for the week, Wednesday at home against Middletown at 3:45 p.m.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Kevin Roberts, email him at KRoberts@SouthingtonObserver.com