Thirteen has proven to be a lucky number for Newtown High School’s softball team lately. That’s the run total the Nighthawks put up on the scoreboards in three of four games — all wins — this past week, as they made it five straight wins and improved to 10-6 overall (8-3 in South-West Conference) heading into a May 15 scheduled clash with Lauralton Hall of Milford.
The Hawks defeated host New Milford 13-0 on May 7, defeated visiting Stratford 13-1 on May 9, and came from behind to beat Brookfield 7-5, in a road game on May 12, before returning home to topple Bethel 13-0 on May 13. All of those blowouts were shortened games, ended via the 12-run lead mercy rule.
As impressive as those baker’s dozen performances were, the most rewarding win of the four would have to be the Brookfield game. Not only was it a close one, but Newtown had to come from behind to capture the victory. The Nighthawks, in fact, erased a 5-1 deficit and trailed 5-3 heading into their last at bat before rallying.
“That’s a defining moment in the season,” said Newtown Coach Bob Guererra, pointing out that the comeback not only gives his team a key win that can help in its conference and state playoff standing, but also is “good for the psyche.
“You get a boost of adrenaline, a shot in the arm — all those good clichés,” Guererra said.
Pitcher Lauren Wilcox overcame a rough start and settled down after the second inning, allowing no runs and just one hit in the third through seventh frames. She ended up with nine strikeouts and four walks, and allowed three hits in the win.
Kate Laaksonen started the final-inning rally with a triple and scored on Mali Klorczyk’s single to make it 5-4. Klorczyk stole second and scored when Kayla O’Grady reached on an error. Tie game.
Karlie Kuligowski had a hit to score O’Grady for a 6-5 Newtown lead, Megan Goyda singled to put runners on the corners, and Abi Kuligowski hit a sacrifice fly for an insurance run.
In the win over New Milford, Wilcox allowed one hit and one walk, and struck out 11. Laaksonen had two hits and drove in three runs. Laaksonen, along with Klorczyk, Dani Shine, Goyda, and Karlie Kuligowski all went 2-for-3. Goyda had a pair of doubles and drove in three, and Shine and Karlie Kuligowski both knocked in two.
In the triumph over Stratford, Gillian Galante had luck with the number 13 in more ways than one. Not only was she the beneficiary of the offensive outburst, but the pitcher fanned 13 en route to victory. Laaksonen was 4-for-5, including a triple, with three RBI and two runs scored. O’Grady was 3-for-4 with an RBI and three runs scored, Shine was 2-for-3 with two RBI and a run, and Klorczyk had a double and a triple, knocked in a run, and scored a run. Karlie Kuligowski was 2-for-2 with a pair of runs driven in, and Haley Ryan also had a 2-for-2 performance.
Against Bethel, Galante was completely dominant. She tossed a no-hitter and walked just one. Laaksonen had a single, triple, and two RBI, and Ryan had a single, two walks, and three runs scored. Teagan Doherty, called up from the junior varsity team for a game, had a single in her first at bat. Shine smacked three singles and drove in two, O’Grady had two hits and two batted in, and Karlie Kuligowski had a double and drove in a pair.
Laaksonen has played well at the catcher position during the past five games since Emily Woznick, a key player for Newtown, was sidelined with an injury.
The Hawks were looking to build off of their winning ways against a tough Lauralton team — unbeaten in conference play. Following that game, Newtown is scheduled to host Kolbe Cathedral of Bridgeport at 7 pm on Monday, May 19 (under the lights at Treadwell Park). The regular season ends with a visit to Notre Dame-Fairfield the next day.