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Week Of Significance For Softball Team: Hawks Get Big Wins And Welcome Player Back



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Week Of Significance For Softball Team: Hawks Get Big Wins And Welcome Player Back

By Andy Hutchison

After losing three close games to two of the state’s best teams (Lauralton Hall twice and Masuk once), and earning an easy 14-0 win over Stratford, the Newtown High School girls’ softball team beat New Milford 5-1 on April 21 then edged Brookfield 2-1 on April 24 — both at home.

Those are wins Coach Bob Guererra said are significant as his team makes a push for a good conference playoff seeding.

“Brookfield, the New Milfords, the New Fairfields are teams we’re competitive with — we’re all kind of in a pack,” Guererra said.

The coach told his players before the Brookfield game that every game is like a playoff game and added, “We’ve got to get ourselves into position to make a run and get a good seed in the playoffs so we can see Lauralton and Masuk again.”

Against Brookfield, Newtown pulled out the postseasonlike win, led by Jenna Legros’s strong pitching and opportunistic base running.

In the bottom of the fifth inning, with the game still scoreless, Ally Modzelewski and Rachel Ruiz singled and, two outs later, both scored when a pitch and ensuing errant throw home got away.

“Right when I saw the catcher bobble it, I knew I had to go because I knew the game was on the line,” Modzelewski said.

“Runs come in spots where you don’t expect it,” Guererra said. “With two outs, we look like we’re dead in the water — wild pitch and a bad throw and we get two runs.”

It was just enough offense for Legros, who struck out 13 batters.

“Jenna pitched a good game. She threw the ball well, we backed her up well — everybody played together [Friday],” short stop Nora Lynn Shimko said.

Shimko put the tag on a would-be base stealer to help thwart a possible Brookfield rally in the final inning. Ruiz, who has filled in well for injured catcher Ashley Kuligowski behind the plate, threw to second to start the caught-stealing play.

“It was definitely a significant win for us to get us on a roll for the rest of the season,” Shimko said.

NHS crushed Kolbe Cathedral by a significant margin, winning 12-0 on Monday to carry a 4-3 record into Wednesday’s contest with Notre Dame-Fairfield (after The Bee sports section went to press).

Completing a week-of-significance hat-trick, Newtown expected to get a key part of its lineup back on the field for games this week. Kuligowski, out since preseason with a broken hand, was expected back for Thursday’s game at Bethel.

Things are starting to come together for this mostly young team, which lost a handful of seniors to graduation last year.

In the 12-0 win at Kolbe on Monday, Colleen Cunningham and Emma Herring combined to pitch a three-hit shutout with 10 strikeouts, giving Legros a day off. Newtown’s pitchers have a combined earned run average of .89.

Ruiz went 2-for-5 with a bases-loaded, bases-clearing double and knocked in five runs and Nicki Elias had a two-run double as part of Newtown’s 10-hit attack.

The Nighthawks were scheduled to play three straight days this week.

After visiting Bethel on Thursday, they are slated to go to Weston Friday and return home Monday to entertain Oxford.

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