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Newtown Softball, Baseball Teams Battle In State Tournaments



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Newtown Softball, Baseball Teams Battle In State Tournaments

By Andy Hutchison

Newtown High School’s softball and baseball teams each earned first-round home games, and got wins, to begin Class LL state tournament action on May 31. Both teams then fell in the second round on June 1 as their seasons came to an end.

The softball team, seeded 11th, needed extra innings to get past No. 22 Glastonbury, 2-1 (in the ninth) of the tourney opener. Newtown pitcher Emma Herring escaped bases loaded jams in each of the first two innings. Newtown scored first, in the opening frame, when Jess Gibbons was hit by a pitch, stole second, and scored on a Natalie Dunn single. The lead stood up until the fifth when the visiting Tomahawks finally broke through for their lone run.

Dunn set the table in the ninth with a leadoff double, and advanced to third base on Colleen Cunningham’s infield single. Danielle Shine won the game with a single and Newtown advanced to face No. 27 Trumbull on Wednesday.

The deceptive No. 27 seed knocked off Newtown 11-4, ending the Newtown softball team’s hopes of getting back to the state final for the second year in a row. Gibbons led off the bottom of the first with a home run for a 1-0 lead but the Eagles got the next 11 runs. Newtown scratched out a trio of seventh-inning runs, one on a Morgan Macchiarulo double and two on a Dun single.

While the softball team was advancing to round two the day before, the baseball team on the adjacent NHS field, was also moving on. The Nighthawk sluggers didn’t require any walk-off heroics, building an early 8-0 lead en route to an 9-2 win over Bristol Central. No. 15 Newtown scored twice in the first, four times in the second, and twice more in the third against the No. 18 Rams. Pitcher Kyle Wilcox shut down the Rams for six innings, Chris Haylon ended the game with a scoreless frame, and the bats did the rest in the early innings.

RJ Roman singled home a run for a 1-0 lead, and Bryan Czel reached on an error which allowed the second run to score. Wilcox induced an inning-ending double play in the top of the second and the Nighthawks piled on the offense in the bottom half of the frame.

David Lucia delivered an RBI single, Ryan Powers belted a run-scoring double, Roman plated another run with a double of his own, and another Hawk came across on a passed ball.

In the third, Newtown capped its scoring when Ryan Tita singled, Kyle Packer doubled, and a Mike Allwein sacrifice fly and another passed ball led to a pair of runs. The Nighthawks advanced to play familiar rival Pomperaug of Southbury. The No. 2 Panthers, who lost to only two teams this spring — including Newtown in one of two regular season games — knocked the Nighthawks out of the first round of the South-West Conference Tournament a week ago. The Panthers knocked Newtown out of states as well, pulling out a 2-1 win. Roman pitched a two-hitter to keep the Hawks in the game. Evan Noonan knocked in the only NHS run, in the final inning. Noonan, Powers, and Packer each had two hits in the effort as the Hawks came up just short in their upset bid.

“You can’t really ask for much more as far as effort for these guys,” said Newtown Coach Matt Memoli, adding that he’ll miss coaching this year’s seniors.

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