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SWC Champs! Adolfson And Nighthawks Dethrone Panthers



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STRATFORD — A clutch two-out, two-strike, two-run, opposite-field single by Sydney Adolfson in the bottom of the first inning was all the Newtown pitcher would need. Newtown High School's softball ace held five-time South-West Conference champion Masuk of Monroe scoreless for the first time this spring as the Nighthawks dethroned the Panthers with an 8-0 victory in the SWC title game, at DeLuca Field, May 25.

Adolfson was in complete control in the pitcher's circle as well as in the batter's box. She struck out a dozen and drove in twice as many runs — six — as the Panthers had hits. Adolfson, who earned MVP accolades, tacked on an RBI single and crushed a monster three-run home run to deep left-center field.

"It was a great game all-around. When we start our offense really early it gives us confidence," Adolfson said.

Newtown's pitcher fanned the first seven batters she faced. Masuk's typically high-scoring offense was stymied by Adolfson again; she limited the Panthers to just three hits in a regular-season clash as well.

In the top of the fifth, with the Nighthawks clinging to a 2-0 lead, a 6-6-3 double play started by shortstop Maddie Thoesen, got the Hawks out of the inning.

Newtown scored three times in the bottom of the fifth. Thoesen delivered a run-scoring single to center and a perfectly-executed bunt on a squeeze play by Caroline Gardner scored Brianna Pellicone, who had singled, for a 4-0 cushion. Adolfson, first-pitch swinging, roped a single to left to drive in the fifth run.

In the bottom of the sixth, walks to Pellicone and Thoesen set the table for Adolfson to pad the lead with one big swing.

"That was a no-doubter. That cleared the fence by a lot," Newtown Coach Joanna Closs said.

Newtown was the tourney's No. 1 seed and Masuk the No. 2 team in the bracket. The Nighthawks had beaten the Panthers 8-2 late in the regular season. Even so, there was a sense of still being the underdogs on the Nighthawk side.

Masuk had won each of the last five SWC crowns, over the course of six seasons with one spring wiped out due to the impact of the coronavirus.

"We thought it was going to be a very close game," said Closs, adding that even at 8-0 she was not taking anything for granted against a Panther team that has been dominant for so many years.

The Nighthawks celebrated the program's first conference crown since 2016.

"It means so much to them. The kids really bonded — the team chemistry is great," Closs said.

"Being a senior, it's just amazing. You couldn't ask for a better way to go out," Adolfson said.

The Hawks comprise a mix of upperclassmen and underclassmen, including freshmen. Thoesen, a sophomore, said the experience of bonding with teammates has been memorable during these last couple of spring seasons.

Capturing the championship will provide Thoesen and her teammates with a memory that will last a lifetime.

"It's such an amazing feeling," Thoesen said.

Newtown High's Sydney Adolfson (No. 17) and her teammates react to Adolfson winning MVP accolades after Newtown blanked Masuk of Monroe 8-0 in the SWC title game. —Bee Photo, Hutchison
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