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Hawk Softball Team Looks To Run The Table



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Now that the Newtown High School softball team's hitting shoes are on, look out.

The Nighthawks haven't had the kind of dominating season they've had in recent years, but when the bats catch fire the team scores runs in bunches. In their past three wins heading into the middle of this week, for example, the Hawks scored 14, 13, and 15 runs in three games. In the middle of that offensive onslaught was a reminder the team has a bit of work to do. The Hawks were shutout - no-hit in fact - by Joel Barlow of Redding on April 29.

Newtown Coach Bob Guererra's squad went into a May 3 visit to Weston, set to start at 4:15 pm, with a record of 6-6 overall and 3-3 in South-West Conference play. That mark is a bit deceptive given the squad had a tough early-on schedule and an adjustment period when standout pitcher Sarah Kennedy was sidelined with an injury.

Guererra, in fact, said after the team's 15-2 triumph over visiting Bunnell of Stratford on May 1 that he had the goal of running the table in the last eight games.

"That's the approach you have to take. Every game's a winnable game because we've been there before. We'll see what happens," said Guererra, whose Nighthawks have won the last two SWC titles.

Newtown plays some of the weaker teams in the SWC down the stretch, but winning out doesn't stand to be easy, beginning with Weston (8-5, 3-3 in the SWC), and including three other teams with winning records: Ridgefield from the FCIAC, Pomperaug of Southbury, and a Masuk of Monroe squad that edged Newtown in extra innings early on. Both Masuk and Pomperaug carried 11 wins into the middle of this week.

Newtown, coming off a 14-0 triumph over Immaculate of Danbury on April 24, beat visiting Brookfield 13-3 on April 27. Four first-inning walks and a two-run single off the bat of Jackie Moccio highlighted a three-spot in the opening frame. Kamdynn Moroney belted a three-run homer and Megan Goyda also homered; the Hawk sluggers went back-to-back in the fourth inning. Winning pitcher Kaysie Fisher doubled and scored two runs. Moccio had two singles and four runs batted in; Kendra Saunders hit three singles, drove in two, and scored a run; and Mackenzie Macchiarulo and Tess Mubarek both singled, walked, and scored twice.

The Hawks bounced back from a disappointing game against Barlow with another football-like offensive showing against Bunnell. The game ended after four and a half innings because of the mercy rule.

Bunnell helped Newtown with six errors, five walks, and a hit batter, but the Hawks also did plenty of the work themselves with contributions from each batter. Macchiarulo singled, walked, drove in two runs, and scored twice; Mubarek had three singles, and RBI, and two runs scored; Moroney doubled, drove in a run, and scored; Goyda walked, was hit by a pitch, and scored three times; Shannon Cheh tripled, walked and scored, drove in a run, and scored three times; Fisher doubled, singled twice, walked, drove in two, and scored three times; Moccio had two singles, two RBI, and a run scored; Erin Burns walked and scored; and Kayla O'Grady singled and had an RBI.

Even if the Hawks don't win all their remaining regular-season contests, Guererra wants to see his team playing at its best as the season winds down.

"You don't want to be struggling and limping going in because that can perpetuate itself into a loss," Guererra said.

And a loss in the postseason means an exit from the single-elimination SWC and state tournaments.

Emily Bell throws the ball to the infield from right field. (Bee Photo, Hutchison)
Kaysie Fisher delivers to home plate. (Bee Photo, Hutchison)
Kendra Saunders runs from first base. (Bee Photo, Hutchison)
Mackenzie Macchiarulo fouls off a pitch. (Bee Photo, Hutchison)
Jackie Moccio takes her lead off second base. (Bee Photo, Hutchison)
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