Nighthawk Softball And Baseball Teams Advance; Laxmen Fall To Wave
A pair of strong pitching efforts lifted Newtown High School’s softball and baseball teams to first-round state tournament victories, at home, on June 3. Meanwhile, the Nighthawk boys’ lacrosse team saw its season come to an end in a setback to New Milford on the same afternoon.
Softball Squad Blanks Opponent
Gillian Galante did the pitching, and her teammates provided plenty of offensive fireworks – scoring a 15 runs to be exact – in the sixth-seeded softball team’s run-rule, six-inning triumph over No. 27 Glastonbury. The Nighthawks rolled to a 15-0 victory in this Class L game as Galante struck out nine batters and allowed only a pair of hitters to reach base. Catcher Emily Woznick erased one of them with a throw to catch a would-be base stealer.
At the plate, the Hawks struck early and often; putting ten runs on the board in the opening frame. Sara Kennedy had two triples, in the first inning alone, and also doubled and singled in the triumph.
Mikayla Kuligowski had three singles and a double, drove in a run, and scored three times. Katie Laaksonen delivered two hits and drove in three runs. Woznick and Kamdynn Moroney, who knocked in a run, both had a pair of hits. Mackenzie Macchiarulo had a triple, RBI, and two runs scored. Tess Mubarek drove in two runs.
With the win, Newtown advances to host No. 11 Westhill of Stamford in the second round, on Thursday, June 4, beginning at 4 pm.
Sluggers Defeat New Milford
On the baseball diamond, Michael Parker wormed out of some early-inning trouble and settled in to pitch a complete game, with four strikeouts, in No. 11 Newtown’s 5-2 victory over No. 22 New Milford in the Class LL bracket. Parker benefitted from four double plays as the NHS defense played a crisp game behind the left-hander.
“That helped for sure,” said Parker, adding that, without a first inning double play, New Milford likely would have scored more than one run, which would have changed the complexion of the game from the onset. “I definitely gutted it out in the beginning. I feel like I finally settled in [during] the fifth inning.”
David Matthews and Jaret DeVellis had RBI doubles in the first and second innings to help the Hawks turn a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead. Matthews, in the third inning, walked and proceeded to steal second base, third, and home plate, swiping a run for a 3-1 edge.
“He took second, he took third – he was so pumped up. He said coach ‘let me do it,’” Newtown Coach Matt Memoli, who also serves as third base coach, said of his interaction with Matthews before he broke for home.
Memoli noted that Charlie Huegi, a catcher, was up to bat, and the right-handed hitter stayed in the batter’s box to alertly block the view of New Milford’s catcher. The Newtown pitcher and catcher also worked well together while Parker was on the mound and Huegi is behind the plate.
The pitcher-catcher battery is a strong one due to the familiarity of the teammates, who play ball together in the summer, Memoli notes. “You can’t teach that; they’re on the same page,” the coach said.
After New Milford cut the lead in half with a run in the fourth, Parker was pretty much dominant, and the offense tacked on some insurance. In the bottom of the sixth, Parker helped his own cause with an RBI triple, and scored on a Jake Oliger sacrifice fly.
“It was exciting. It was great to get the win and advance,” Matthews said.
Newtown will visit No. 6 Shelton, Memoli’s alma mater, in the second round, on June 4. The first pitch is at 4 pm.
Lacrosse Team Finally Beaten By Wave
The lacrosse team had beaten New Milford twice this spring – once in the regular campaign, and again in the South-West Conference tournament semifinals. In their Class L state tournament first-round clash, the sixth-seeded Green Wave posted a 12-8 win over No. 11 Newtown. The game, originally to have been played at New Milford High, was moved to Brookfield High’s turf because of a possible threat at New Milford High, according to the New Milford Public Schools website.
Matt Meyers scored three goals, and Jared Pearson, Logan Walsh, Ryan Sullivan, Conrad Morris, and David MacKinnon add added net-finders in the loss. Goaltender Jon Rospenda made eight saves. Mark Urso won 15 faceoffs for Newtown.
Newtown Coach Glenn Adams thought his team came into the game, given its recent success against New Milford, with the mindset that it was in good position to win. “I knew they were going to come in with a different game plan,” Adams said of the Green Wave, adding that New Milford executed more effectively than it did in the previous two meetings, and that his squad took too long to make necessary adjustments.
The Nighthawks chipped away at a fourth-quarter deficit but couldn’t come all the way back. Newtown has taken some time to turn it on during games throughout this spring, including in the SWC championship game when seven unanswered goals erased an 11-4 deficit before the Hawks fell in overtime to host Joel Barlow of Redding, in their previous game.
“I think the last couple of games we sort of got burned with that,” Adams said of his team’s propensity to wait until the game is on the line to start playing with urgency.
Adams, however, has plenty of reasons to be proud of his team, which went 11-5 in the regular campaign, and lost four games by just one goal, and the other by only two.
The coach said he felt badly for his 17 seniors who had done so much for the program during their playing careers. “I’ll definitely miss those guys,” Adams said.