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Softball Team Heads Into Stretch Run Vying For First-Round Home Field Advantage



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Winners of four of five contests heading into the middle of this week — and thanks to owning tiebreakers over teams with similar records — the Newtown High School softball team appears poised to earn a first-round South-West Conference tournament home game. The Nighthawks will need to finish among the top four in the SWC to open the postseason on their familiar diamond.

Newtown stood at 5-2 in conference action as the Nighthawks headed into a Wednesday game with Bunnell of Stratford (7 pm at Treadwell Park) and Thursday contest with Immaculate of Danbury (on the road at 4 pm). Notre Dame-Fairfield is also 5-2, and Brookfield and Stratford have records of 6-3 — each of these teams behind Colonial Division leader Masuk of Monroe (9-0) and Patriot Division frontrunner Joel Barlow of Redding (8-1).

With Masuk and Barlow apparently on their way to locking up the top two spots, that leaves Newtown and the other three aforementioned schools all vying for two spots for quarterfinal-round home games.

Newtown has already beaten Notre Dame and Brookfield, thus holding tiebreakers over their rivals. NHS was scheduled to face Stratford on May 3, but the game got rained out and postponed to a date to be determined.

Bunnell and Immaculate have one in-conference win between them. Masuk, Bethel (2-6 in the SWC), and New Milford (3-4) also remain on Newtown’s slate. If the Nighthawks take care of business against the teams they (on paper at least) can be expected to beat, they might not have to worry about tiebreakers anyway.

The Nighthawks improved to 8-6 overall by sandwiching a 6-4 loss at FCIAC team Norwalk in a makeup game on May 2 with an 11-6 triumph over visiting New Fairfield on May 1 and a 15-1 blowout of host Weston on May 6.

In the win over New Fairfield, the Nighthawks fell behind 3-0 in the first inning but responded with two in the bottom of the frame and five more in the second to seize the lead for good. The Rebels sliced the lead in half, making it 7-5, in the third, but Newtown scored two runs in each the fourth and sixth and limited the Rebels to one run the rest of the way. Pitcher Shauna Tucker struck out ten batters for the win.

Ryssa Swanson went 3-for-4 with two runs batted in and a run scored; Taylor McPadden went 2-for-4 with an RBI and run scored; Katie Goyda was 1-for-2 with a pair of runs driven in; and Kim Buttery, Angela Carriero, and Kendra Saunders all had RBI.

Against Norwalk, the Hawks had 11 hits. Natalie Horn was 2-for-4, including a home run over the center field fence, and drove in two runs. Jackie Moccio went 2-for-4, Saunders was 2-for-3, Swanson went 2-for-4 with an RBI, and Carriero also knocked in a run. The game was tied 4-4 in the sixth when Norwalk scored two unearned runs for the difference in the game.

Newtown ended the Weston game in a five-inning, mercy-rule affair. The Nighthawks scored four times in the first, put up a six spot in the second, three in the third, and two in the fifth. Nicole Fisher was in the circle and allowed just two hits and three walks, striking out a trio of batters for the win. Fisher helped her own cause with a 2-for-3 day at the plate; Fisher scored two runs.

The Nighthawk offense was to an extent as much about patience as power; Newtown accumulated 15 hits and nine walks. Moccio was 3-for-3 with a double, two RBI, and a run scored; Swanson went 3-for-4 with a double, two RBI, and three runs scored; Sienna Cummings went 2-for-4 with two runs scored; and Tucker had a double, two RBI, and run scored.

Newtown is scheduled to visit Masuk on Friday, May 11, at 4:15 pm. After visits to Bethel and New Milford, May 13 and 14, both also at 4:15, and the makeup with Stratford, the postseason commences with the SWC quarters on Saturday, May 18.

Shauna Tucker tosses a pitch this spring. (Bee Photo, Hutchison)

Kendra Saunders and the Nighthawks defeated New Fairfield and Weston this week. (Bee Photo, Hutchison)

Outfielder Kim Buttery gets the ball back to the infield. (Bee Photo, Hutchison)

Jackie Moccio throws the ball. (Bee Photo, Hutchison)

Nicole Fisher throws to home plate during a game. (Bee Photo, Hutchison)

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