Sports

Southington Observer Sports Section

Last man standing; Matt Bennett just missed NE meet

June 22, 2014
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Last man standing; Matt Bennett just  missed NE meet

By John Goralski Sports Writer Matt Bennett never complained when the heavy rains flooded across the throwing circle even though it was apparent that it cost him a return trip to the New England Championship. With the slick conditions, Bennett’s spins weren’t as crisp. With the lack of momentum, his throws weren’t as far. On…

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Building to the best;

June 20, 2014
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By John Goralski Sports Writer A small gallery of coaches and players gathered at the fringe of the final green to watch Eric Flood chip the ball a few feet from the 18th hole. The Southington senior flashed a smile at his teammates, grabbed his putter, and sauntered onto the green elbow-to-elbow with some of…

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SHS teacher to dance for wounded veterans

June 20, 2014
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SHS teacher to dance for wounded veterans

By Lindsay Carey Staff Writer Southington High School teacher, army veteran, football coach and science fiction author are just a few ways one could define the accomplished . This fall, competitive dancer can be added to the list. Durbin, or the Colonel as some know him, will dance for charity in Dancing with Our Heroes,…

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Back-to-back champions; Lady Knights outlast Amity in 15-inning title contest

June 20, 2014
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Back-to-back champions; Lady Knights outlast Amity in 15-inning title contest

By John Goralski Sports Writer Coaches and fans were already noticing fatigue with the pitchers when Southington came to the plate at the bottom of the 15th inning. On Saturday, June 14, the game was already dragging toward the three and a half hour mark, and the moon was already climbing high into the sky.…

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Loss in the finals; Amity wins championship rematch

June 20, 2014
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Loss in the finals; Amity wins championship rematch

By John Goralski Sports Writer Blue Knight coach Charlie Lembo slumped against the wall as a flood of reporters engulfed him in the Middletown dugout. His Blue Knight baseball team was the last one playing at the high school during one of the most prolific springs in recent history. The Knights led early and were…

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Knights reach the finals; Young spikers charge into the championship game

June 18, 2014
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Knights reach the finals; Young spikers charge into the championship game

By John Goralski Sports Writer Ridgefield funneled the offense to their 6-foot-5 center, and the Blue Knights countered with a make-shift block. The Tigers shifted the next pass through their outsides, and Southington’s blockers shifted back to meet the charge. On Thursday, June 12, Southington’s big man sat helplessly with his ankle wrapped on the…

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Survive and advance; Baseball returns to the semis with 2 postseason wins

June 13, 2014
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Survive and advance; Baseball returns to the semis with 2 postseason wins

By John Goralski Sports Writer It looked like Southington’s postseason was over before it started, and that wasn’t the way things were supposed to be going. The Knights stormed through the regular season with a 17-3 record. They earned a bye in the first round of the Class LL championship, but Southington just couldn’t seem…

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Knights crack top 15; Bennett, Barmore advance to the state open

June 13, 2014
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Knights crack top 15; Bennett, Barmore advance to the state open

By John Goralski Sports Writer Coach Colleen Roarty was actually considering scratching Stephen Barmore from the 100m finals when she saw him limping toward the starting line. The senior sprinter hobbled into the finals with one of his worst times of the season, and his chances at making the state open were dire at best.…

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Back in the semifinals; Softball surges past Newtown, outlasts CheshireBy John Goralski Sports Writer Kendra Friedt picked apart Cheshire’s lineup with the accuracy of a military sniper. She scored two strikeouts in the first inning. She scored two in her final inning on the mound. Every inning in between, at least one Ram batter swung and missed at a third strike. In the second inning, she struck out the side. Southington advanced to the semifinals for the third season in a row with wins over Newtown and Cheshire, but it took a 2-1 pitcher’s duel in the quarterfinals to dispel any doubts about Southington’s ace. Sure the Rams caught up with three of Friedt’s pitches and even manufactured an unearned run, but two of the hits were followed with strikeouts as the Lady Knight ace quieted any critics remaining. “That’s the kind of question that teams have had in the back of their minds,” said Lady Knight softball coach Davina Hernandez. “Has Southing-ton played anyone? Kendra’s not going to get seven or eight strikeouts against a good team, but she did. She did it with a lot of fire behind her ball today.” The Knights were never threatened in their first contest, as they dismantled Newtown, 13-0. Southing-ton rallied for three runs in each of the first two innings and scored in every inning but two. The Knights added two runs in the fourth inning and four runs in the sixth as Southington batters combined for 10 hits and seven walks. For Hernandez, it was an opportunity to see how her entire lineup would handle the postseason pressure as she shuffled 17 players into the game. “I’m really happy that we came out and scored some runs early on because I’m still looking for that pinch hitter that we’ll need in a clutch situation,” she said. “Right now, I’m torn between quite a few of them. It was good to have so many kids get up to bat. All 17 girls played today, and that made it fun.” In the circle Friedt did her part, scattering six strikeouts and four hits over seven innings to record her 14th shutout of the season. Even though Newtown managed to get runners into scoring position in every inning but one, Southington’s defense ended every threat. Hernandez used the postseason opportunity to add another pitch to Friedt’s arsenal. “Two of the hits that she gave up were on change-ups, but that’s all part of the plan. We knew that they were going to put the bat on the ball, but we know that we have to work that pitch,” she said. “You don’t throw it when teams are behind the ball. Now that we’re facing teams that can be ahead of her, we have to try it. She gave up a couple of hits early, but then it was really effective the rest of the game. She got every other kid to ground out with a choppy ball.” Offensively, the Knights relied on power and timely hitting. Natalie Wadolowski went 3-for-4 with a triple, two doubles, a run, and six RBI. Sydney Ferrante went 2-for-3 with a triple, a double, three runs, and two RBI. Lauren Zazzaro scored four times. Kaitlin Paterson scored twice, and Southington reached base with every part of their lineup. “Natalie had a fantastic day today. She was on the ball, and there was no doubt that she was going to hit it from her first swing, and that was huge,” said Hernandez. “I was happy that Natalie came out with a bang. Sydney hit the fence in the air. Kaitlin drove the ball, and Lauren had a great day.” With the victory Southington advanced to face Cheshire, but momentum slowed as the Knights tried to figure out the Ram pitching. Nobody scored multiple hits in the contest, but Southington manufactured two runs on six hits to score a 2-1 win. “They are a phenomenal team, and we knew that this was going to be a hard game for us,” Hernandez said. “They have great hitters one through nine. They made the plays. It was the type of tournament game that you want to coach and play in. It was competitive, fun, exciting, energetic, and loud. Both teams manufactured a run, but we came through with the clutch hit.” Haley Arduini gave the Knights the early lead with a single in the second inning to open the scoring, but Cheshire responded in the fourth, capitalizing on a rare Southington throwing error to tie the game, 1-1. “I told them to answer back, but that’s what I’ve said to them and what they’ve done every single time a team has scored a run on us this year,” said Hernandez. “They put runners on base. We put runners on base. Their pitcher had a good inning. Our pitcher had a good inning. It was a back-and-forth battle between two great teams. Either one of us could have scored. It just happened to be us.” The winning run came in the bottom of the fifth. Paterson reached on a one-out single. Zazzaro moved her to second with a sacrifice, and Ferrante drew a walk with two outs. Rachel Dube lined a single through the gap to score Paterson, and the Knights held on for the victory. With the win, Southington (22-0) advanced to the semifinals to face No. 5 Daniel Hand (19-4). Hand is coming off an 8-7 win over Bristol Central in the quarterfinals. If they win, Southington will earn a chance to score their first back-to-back state title since winning five in a row from 1983-1988. No. 7 Amity (19-4) and No. 11 South Windsor (17-6) will battle for the other spot in the finals. To comment on this story or to contact sports writer John Goralski, email him at jgoralski@southingtonobserver.com.

June 13, 2014
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Back in the semifinals; Softball surges past Newtown, outlasts CheshireBy John Goralski Sports Writer Kendra Friedt picked apart Cheshire’s lineup with the accuracy of a military sniper. She scored two strikeouts in the first inning. She scored two in her final inning on the mound. Every inning in between, at least one Ram batter swung and missed at a third strike. In the second inning, she struck out the side. Southington advanced to the semifinals for the third season in a row with wins over Newtown and Cheshire, but it took a 2-1 pitcher’s duel in the quarterfinals to dispel any doubts about Southington’s ace. Sure the Rams caught up with three of Friedt’s pitches and even manufactured an unearned run, but two of the hits were followed with strikeouts as the Lady Knight ace quieted any critics remaining. “That’s the kind of question that teams have had in the back of their minds,” said Lady Knight softball coach Davina Hernandez. “Has Southing-ton played anyone? Kendra’s not going to get seven or eight strikeouts against a good team, but she did. She did it with a lot of fire behind her ball today.” The Knights were never threatened in their first contest, as they dismantled Newtown, 13-0. Southing-ton rallied for three runs in each of the first two innings and scored in every inning but two. The Knights added two runs in the fourth inning and four runs in the sixth as Southington batters combined for 10 hits and seven walks. For Hernandez, it was an opportunity to see how her entire lineup would handle the postseason pressure as she shuffled 17 players into the game. “I’m really happy that we came out and scored some runs early on because I’m still looking for that pinch hitter that we’ll need in a clutch situation,” she said. “Right now, I’m torn between quite a few of them. It was good to have so many kids get up to bat. All 17 girls played today, and that made it fun.” In the circle Friedt did her part, scattering six strikeouts and four hits over seven innings to record her 14th shutout of the season.  Even though Newtown managed to get runners into scoring position in every inning but one, Southington’s defense ended every threat. Hernandez used the postseason opportunity to add another pitch to Friedt’s arsenal. “Two of the hits that she gave up were on change-ups, but that’s all part of the plan. We knew that they were going to put the bat on the ball, but we know that we have to work that pitch,” she said. “You don’t throw it when teams are behind the ball. Now that we’re facing teams that can be ahead of her, we have to try it. She gave up a couple of hits early, but then it was really effective the rest of the game. She got every other kid to ground out with a choppy ball.” Offensively, the Knights relied on power and timely hitting. Natalie Wadolowski went 3-for-4 with a triple, two doubles, a run, and six RBI. Sydney Ferrante went 2-for-3 with a triple, a double, three runs, and two RBI. Lauren Zazzaro scored four times. Kaitlin Paterson scored twice, and Southington reached base with every part of their lineup. “Natalie had a fantastic day today. She was on the ball, and there was no doubt that she was going to hit it from her first swing, and that was huge,” said Hernandez. “I was happy that Natalie came out with a bang. Sydney hit the fence in the air. Kaitlin drove the ball, and Lauren had a great day.” With the victory Southington advanced to face Cheshire, but momentum slowed as the Knights tried to figure out the Ram pitching. Nobody scored multiple hits in the contest, but Southington manufactured two runs on six hits to score a 2-1 win. “They are a phenomenal team, and we knew that this was going to be a hard game for us,” Hernandez said. “They have great hitters one through nine. They made the plays. It was the type of tournament game that you want to coach and play in. It was competitive, fun, exciting, energetic, and loud. Both teams manufactured a run, but we came through with the clutch hit.” Haley Arduini gave the Knights the early lead with a single in the second inning to open the scoring, but Cheshire responded in the fourth, capitalizing on a rare Southington throwing error to tie the game, 1-1.  “I told them to answer back, but that’s what I’ve said to them and what they’ve done every single time a team has scored a run on us this year,” said Hernandez. “They put runners on base. We put runners on base. Their pitcher had a good inning. Our pitcher had a good inning. It was a back-and-forth battle between two great teams. Either one of us could have scored. It just happened to be us.” The winning run came in the bottom of the fifth. Paterson reached on a one-out single. Zazzaro moved her to second with a sacrifice, and Ferrante drew a walk with two outs. Rachel Dube lined a single through the gap to score Paterson, and the Knights held on for the victory.  With the win, Southington (22-0) advanced to the semifinals to face No. 5 Daniel Hand (19-4). Hand is coming off an 8-7 win over Bristol Central in the quarterfinals. If they win, Southington will earn a chance to score their first back-to-back state title since winning five in a row from 1983-1988.  No. 7 Amity (19-4) and No. 11 South Windsor (17-6) will battle for the other spot in the finals. To comment on this story or to contact sports writer John Goralski, email him at jgoralski@southingtonobserver.com.

By John Goralski Sports Writer Kendra Friedt picked apart Cheshire’s lineup with the accuracy of a military sniper. She scored two strikeouts in the first inning. She scored two in her final inning on the mound. Every inning in between, at least one Ram batter swung and missed at a third strike. In the second…

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Ready for states

June 6, 2014
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Ready for states

By John Goralski Sports Writer For the third day in a row, the Knights posted good scores but didn’t lower their differential. The match was already decided when Ryan Burrill’s 38 displaced one of his teammates to drop the team score to 147 on Thursday, May 29. But it marked a new threshold in Southington’s…

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