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Softball Team Drops Extra-Inning Thriller In Championship Game



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STRATFORD — An edge-of-your-seat game full of clutch home runs, great fielding — including a play at the plate — unfolded at DeLuca Field when the No. 3 Newtown High School softball team took on top seed Masuk of Monroe on May 22.

Seven innings was not enough. A walk-off home run by the Masuk Panthers ended this nine-inning contest. Final score Masuk 6, Newtown 4.

Despite the disappointing outcome the Nighthawks had plenty of reason to hold their heads high.

"It's the best game we've played all year — hand's down," Newtown Coach Megan Goyda said.

The Hawks turned double plays. Right fielder Julia Berry threw out a runner trying to score from second base on a hit. Newtown pitching mostly contained Masuk's typically potent lineup. And the Nighthawks had some big hits of their own and jumped out to a 4-0 lead.

It just wasn't enough as the Panthers reclaimed the SWC title the Nighthawks had taken from them last spring.

Masuk's No. 9 hitter Ava Moretti hit the deciding homer, over the left field fence, to send the Panther bench into a frenzy. Masuk pitcher Julia Bacoulis hit a grand slam over the center field fence to tie the game in the bottom of the fifth.

The Nighthawks took a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning, courtesy of starting pitcher Addy Cordova's homer to left.

Masuk strung together three hits in the bottom of the opening frame but did not score thanks to Berry's throwing home to catcher Sophia Caruso for a tag play. Berry added to the lead with an opposite-field liner of a home run to right in the second.

Both teams put runners on base and in scoring position multiple times in the late innings. Bacoulis and Nighthawk reliever Maddie Thoesen worked out of jams.

Fielding helped out with Nighthawk first baseman Gabby Ansman snaring a liner and stepping on the base for a double play in the eighth inning. Before that, in the sixth, Berry made a catch and helped throw out a runner attempting to tag and move to third. It came down to a rundown with third baseman Gilly Boughan taking the throw from Berry, running the base runner back toward second and throwing the ball to shortstop Bri Pellicone for a tag play.

The Panthers also worked out of trouble and then cashed in on a two-base error and steal of third by Aubrey Zvovushe-Ramos. Only in need of a single the Panthers got the walk-off blast off the bat of Ava Moretti, who had missed all of last season to an injury.

Newtown will return to game action in the State Tournament.

Newtown catcher Sophia Caruso tags Masuk base runner Natalie Lieto at home plate during the SWC Championship game won by Masuk, 6-4, at DeLuca Field in Stratford on May 22. —Bee Photos, Hutchison
Julia Berry circles the bases following a homer.
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