By BRIAN JENNINGS
The Lady Knights softball team (12-0) played on four of the five days this past week and carried on their perfection, extending their program-best win streak to 57 games.
The Knights opened the week with a shutout over Southington coach Davina Hernandez’ alma mater. Three runs in the first inning and two runs in the fifth gave the Knights a 5-0 win on their home dirt over the Bristol Central Rams (8-5) on Monday, May 4.
Lauren Zazzaro went 2-for-3 with an RBI and run. Maighread Scafariello went 2-for-3 with an RBI. Kaitlin Paterson, Michelle Woodruff, and Emily Mankus each scored a run.
Kendra Friedt pitched all seven innings in the shutout, throwing 13 strikeouts against 23 batters and allowing just one walk and no hits.
“I think we started out great,” said Hernandez. “We got extremely flat for a good few innings there. We didn’t get flat as far as our fundamentals or anything like that, but just energy. It was just a quiet, slow game during the middle innings. I came in, brought them in, and just said that Kendra’s throwing a great game, we’re playing great defense, but we have to pick the energy. They came out that inning and put up a couple more runs on the board. That’s the tenacity I was really looking for from them.”
The Knights carried the momentum into Wednesday’s game at Martha Hart Park in New Britain, winning by mercy rule over the Golden Hurricanes (9-4), 19-0, in the fifth inning.
Zazzaro went 4-for-4 with six RBI and one run, including four doubles. Emily Lippincott went 3-for-4 with a RBI and three runs. Paterson went 3-for-4 with four RBI and three runs, including two triples. Haley Arduini had two RBI and one run, including a triple.
Brenna Sarantides started the game for the Knights on the circle and picked up the win, throwing six strikeouts against 14 batters in three innings and allowing three hits. Friedt replaced Sarantides in the bottom of the fourth inning to close out the game and throw five strikeouts against six batters, not giving up any hits.
Paola Bronner and Christina Belazquez had the only hits for the Hurricanes (all were singles).
The Knights returned to play on their home diamond the next day where they just squeaked by the Torrington Red Raiders (10-3) in their second closest game of the season by a score of 2-0.
Paterson and Scafariello had the team’s only two hits, Paterson’s coming on a triple. Arduini was able to score a run in the bottom of the second inning off of Paterson’s triple. Lippincott scored the other run in the bottom of the fifth inning to put the game out of reach off of Zazzaro’s sacrifice fly to left field.
Friedt pitched all seven innings and threw 15 strikeouts and three walks against 29 batters, allowing four hits.
Brittany Anderson, Marissa Morris, Lauren Jamieson, and Carissa Carbone had the only hits for the Raiders.
“Coming into it, we knew they were going to be a really great team,” the coach said. “They were the last team that we added onto our schedule this year. Even though they lost Sydney Matzko, we scrimmaged them this year and they hit the ball really hard. We wanted to face a team that was going to put the ball in play. That’s a tournament-type game that we get to have during the regular season. They’re a great team and they’re very well coached.”
Matzko was considered to be a Torrington legend on the circle when she pitched for the Raiders last season. Matzko graduated and went on to pitch at the University of North Carolina.
On Friday, the Knights won their fourth game of the week by mercy ruling the Conard Chieftains (6-6) in the bottom of the sixth inning, making it 15-0.
“I think Bridget Garach is a really good pitcher for Conard,” said Hernandez. “She’s definitely one of the best in our conference. We tend not to get a great piece off her in the first few innings or so. She tends to hold us a lot every year that I’ve been here where we’ve seen her. She’s always tough to hit in the first few innings. Even the hits that we did get early on were a lot of flares off of the bat.”
Isabella Russo went 4-for-4 with two RBI and four runs, including a home run and double. Paterson went 3-for-4 with two runs. Danielle Ahern and Natalie Wadolowski both hit doubles. Zazzaro had three RBI and Scafariello had two.
Friedt pitched a shutout and no-hitter by throwing 11 strikeouts against 18 batters in six innings. Ironically, Friedt made the team’s only error by dropping a pop fly blooper in front of the circle in the top of the fifth inning, which cost her a perfect game.
“I think we had a good day,” the Knights coach said. “We had some good discipline at the plate. The bats started coming around. Everyone on the team played today. It was a total team effort. Nicole White came in off the bench and picked a girl off in her first inning out there. Emily Mankus made a great sliding catch to keep the no-hitter going. It just goes to show that we have a great team, but we also have great players that come off the bench too.”
Without a flaw in their record yet this season, the Knights currently sit in first place in the CCC West two games ahead of Newington (10-2).
The Knights hope to keep the success rolling this week with a conference doubleheader against the Hall Warriors (1-9).