By BRIAN JENNINGS
The Lady Knight softball team suffered their first loss of the season against their second nonconference opponent. But they finished off the week with three wins to qualify for the Class LL tournament as they embarked on the midpoint of the regular season.
“I definitely have seen a huge jump in our leadership since the loss,” said Southington coach Davina Hernandez. “Communi-cation has been an issue for us, but I’ve seen more people speaking up and being vocal.”
After Cheshire fell, 3-1, at Guilford on Monday, May 8, there are now no more remaining undefeated teams left in Class LL, which makes for an interesting postseason to come.
“It’s almost a good thing that we have a loss,” the coach said. “I don’t know if there are any schools out there that are still undefeated, but it’s one of those years where there are just a lot of teams that are very close in talent. We’re just excited about the tournament.”
The Knights look to continue building momentum this week with games against Rocky Hill (5-7), Fitch (8-5), Tolland (8-4), and Windsor (9-2). Southington is currently 10-1 overall and are ranked first (3-0) in the CCC Central Blue.
Win vs. NW Catholic
MAY 1—The Knights began the week by clinching a playoff berth with a 14-5 triumph over NW Catholic at home on Monday. Southington finished with 17 hits and committed three errors.
“We continued to score runs, even though we subbed out our entire starting lineup to expand that cushion,” said Hernandez. “We had clutch hitting with a lot of line drives and base hits with people on base. Up and down the lineup, we hit really well.”
Amanda Delorme went 2-for-3 at the plate with three runs scored, an RBI, and a double. Maighread Scafariello went 2-for-4 with three RBIs, a run scored, and a home run. Frankie Ferrante went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a run scored.
Kara Zazzaro started on the circle and went five innings with seven strikeouts, allowing just three walks. Delaney Picard closed.
Loss vs. Westhill
MAY 2—Southington’s eight-game winning streak was snapped at home the next day after the Knights suffered their first loss of the season, shutout, 2-0, by Westhill.
“I almost think that it was the best thing that could have happened to us,” said Hernandez. “It causes a lot of unnecessary built-up pressure when you do have those winning streaks going. But it also lights a fire under you.”
Southington mustered just four hits and committed two errors.
“They swung the bats a little bit better than us today,” the coach said. “They just had harder hit balls than us. It was another windy day, and there were a lot of balls that just went up hit in the air. We didn’t make that adjustment to line drives and base hits.”
After four scoreless innings and a pair of strikeouts to start the top of the fifth inning, two base hits put runners in scoring position for the Vikings. Westhill’s Jordan Benzaken drove in those two runs with a single to right field.
“We did not communicate on that ball to right field,” said Hernandez. “It was a one-hopper to our right fielder, and my players on the field are telling her to throw home. We didn’t throw to first. If we throw to first, none of those runs count, and it is still a tied game.”
Zazzaro threw a complete game on the circle with 12 strikeouts, allowing six hits and a walk.
Win at Glastonbury
MAY 3—The Knights returned to customary form on Wednesday and recovered from Tuesday’s loss with a 17-2 triumph at Glastonbury. The Tomahawks came into the game with just one loss on their resume. Southington finished with 17 hits and committed one error.
“It was line drive after line drive and gap shot after gap shot,” said Hernandez. “We had great discipline at the plate with a combination of small ball, bunts, slaps, power hits, and balls to the fence. They’re a really good team, but we just happened to have a really good day.”
Michelle Woodruff went 3-for-4 at the plate with two RBIs, and two runs scored. Chrissy Marotto went 2-for-3 with two RBIs, two runs scored, and a double. Abby Lamson went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored.
Zazzaro pitched a complete game on the circle with 13 strikeouts, allowing three hits and one walk.
Win at Hall
MAY 4—The Knights rounded out the week by earning their second-straight win with their third shutout of the season, mercy-ruling Hall, 18-0, in five innings on the road. Southington finished with 14 hits and committed and no errors.
Woodruff went 2-for-3 at the plate with three runs scored and two walks. Delorme went 2-for-4 with two runs score, a walk, and a double.
Zazzaro tossed a complete game on the circle with 11 strikeouts, allowing just one hit.
For this week’s box scores, click here: (southingtonobserver.com/2017/05/10/weekly-scoreboard-for-the-may-12-edition). To contact sports writer Brian Jennings, email him at BJennings@SouthingtonObserver.com.