By KEVIN ROBERTS
Southington softball’s week started off in a most bizarre fashion. The Lady Knights came back to take a late lead in their first game of the week at Bristol Eastern on April 9, then they lost after the game was called due to rain.
The game was ended by the umpires due to unsafe playing conditions, and Eastern won 3-2 over Southington because the score reverted back to what it was at the end of the last full inning played. At that point, the Lancers led the Knights 3-2 after five full innings. Southington scored three runs in the top of the sixth inning to claim a 5-3 lead, but Eastern didn’t complete its at bats in the bottom of the inning. The ending left plenty of confusion for Knights coach Davina Hernandez and her Eastern counterpart Scott Redman.
“It was unsafe conditions,” Redman said afterward. “[Hernandez] brought it up. The umpires made the determination that it was unplayable.”
Hernandez said both coaches wanted to keep the game going at that point in time. She also said that the umpires walked off the field. There were no school administrators present at the game, and National Federation of High School rules were used to determine the ending.
“It’s unfortunate,” Hernandez said later in the week. “I had quite a few high school coaches reach out to me [April 9], some of the top teams in the state, outraged by just how the umps just kind of said, ‘ok well you guys figure it out,’ and they left. Nothing was decided, the Bristol Eastern coach was trying to throw quick dry down, and the areas that he threw it down, it was fine and it actually dip stop raining for over a half hour, and we would have been able to probably get it in. We offered to work on the field.”
Southington had 10 hits through five innings, but only scored the two runs, both in the top of the first inning.
“We hit the ball pretty hard and pretty well all game long, Hernandez said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t have as many timely hits as we would have liked.”
It was the first loss of the season for the Knights, and Hernandez said she thought the players took the result well.
“I think they were a little upset with some of the things that were posted online and things like that from other people, not from our school,” Hernandez said. “It just kind of added a little insult to injury. I think certain things could have been left unsaid.”
Hernandez said the only thing for Southington to do was put the loss behind it. The Knights did just that with a 7-1 home win over RHAM on April 10, followed by a 15-6 road victory over Glastonbury on April 12. Southington improved to 4-1 after the two victories.
In the RHAM game, Gabby Malachowski was 3-for-3 with two RBI, a run scored and a stolen base.
“I thought we had some really heads-up baserunning and took a couple extra bases when we could, and that really helped us,” Hernandez said.
Abby Lamson had a home run, two RBI and two runs scored for Southington, which tallied 11 hits. One of those hits was a booming double from left-hand hitting Sam Sullivan, the first varsity hit for the freshman. That hit came in Sullivan’s first varsity at bat and would have been at least a triple, had it not rolled under the fence in left field.
In the circle, Katelyn Lipsky, Julia Theriault, Julia Panarella and Dominique Gaudio combined for three hits allowed and nine strikeouts, and Lipski took the win. There were other things that Hernandez saw that went well against RHAM.
“I thought our catchers have been doing a fantastic job getting runners whenever they go, our bench has been on it, yelling out going,” Hernandez said. “Our communication has been improving every game. I think we’re heading in the right direction.”
Lamson provided three singles and four RBI in Southington’s 14-hit attack against Glastonbury. Chrissy Marotto (double, 3 runs scored) and Kelsey Fernandez (2 runs scored) each had two hits and two RBI for the Knights. Lipsky had two runs scored and two RBI, and Nicole Greco scored three runs. Theriault started, pitched the first two innings and claimed the win. Panarella, Gaudio and Sam Sullivan all pitched in relief.
Up next: Southington was scheduled to host Farmington on Wednesday, then travel to Simsbury on Thursday.
Staff writer Michael Letendre contributed to this story. To contact staff writer Kevin Roberts, email him at KRoberts@SouthingtonObserver.com