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Softball Team Advances To Quarterfinal; Baseball Squad Edged By Shelton



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It’s on to the Class LL state tournament quarterfinals for Newtown High School’s softball team. The sixth-seeded Nighthawks defeated No. 11 Westhill of Stamford 7-2 in the second round, at Newtown High, on June 4.

With the win, the Nighthawks will visit third-seeded Darien in the quarterfinals, on Friday, June 5, beginning at 4 pm. Darien, like Westhill, is an FCIAC team and defeated Westhill 2-1 during the regular season.

Newtown’s baseball team got a stellar pitching performance from Jason Hebner, but an unearned run in the bottom of the sixth inning broke a scoreless tie and sent No. 6 Shelton to a 1-0 win over the No. 11 Nighthawks , in Class LL second-round play, also on June 4.

Softball Team Advances

In the second-round softball contest, the Nighthawks erased a 2-1 deficit with three runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, and tacked on three more in the fifth to give pitcher Lauren Wilcox some breathing room.

Newtown struck first, in the first; leadoff hitter Mikayla Kuligowski singled and moved to second base on Sara Kennedy’s sacrifice bunt, then scored on a Katie Laaksonen single.

Westhill’s Jordan Benzaken delivered a two-out, two-run single for a 2-1 Westhill lead in the third, but that’s all the Vikings would get.

In the game-changing fourth, Emily Woznick began the rally with a booming double to left. Pinch runner Emily Bell went to third on a Megan Goyda single, and Goyda advanced to second on the throw to home plate, which held Bell. A wild pitch scored Bell with the tying run, and Westhill starting pitcher Casey Dicine was replaced by Adriana Gambino, after Dicine fell behind 2-0 on Newtown batter Kamdynn Moroney. Newtown claimed a 3-2 lead when Moroney came through with a sacrifice fly, after fouling off a 2-2 pitch. Jill Lasorsa walked and scored on Mackenzie Macchiarulo’s double to right center.

Wilcox pitched a one-two-three fifth inning, and the offense padded the lead in the bottom half of the frame. Goyda smacked an RBI triple to deep right field for a 5-2 lead, Lasorsa knocked in the sixth run on a groundout, and Macchiarulo plated another run with a single.

Baseball Season Ends

In the baseball team’s loss, Hebner and Shelton starter Justin Lynch put up zeros until Shelton’s Christopher Kanios delivered an RBI single to left. Scoring the unearned run, earned the Gaels a matchup with defending state champion Amity of Woodbridge in the quarterfinals. Newtown went 14-6 during the regular campaign and defeated New Milford in the first round of the state bracket.

Hebner allowed only three hits and issued just one walk; he struck out nine batters, holding an explosive Shelton lineup that had scored double digits in six games, in check.

“He’s had great games all year, but this was his best,” Newtown Coach Matt Memoli said of his left-hander. “It’s frustrating.”

Memoli praised his team for putting together a solid spring. “It’s a good year – it really is,” he said.

“I love all of these kids,” said Memoli, adding that reality was slowly sinking in that there’s no talk about the next matchup for the first time in two months, and that he will miss his players. “The kids are so much fun to be around.”

Haley Ryan squares to bunt, helping the Nighthawks advance a runner en route to a win that sent them into the state tourney quarterfinals.
Mikayla Kuligowski takes a throw as a Westhill player slides into second base.
Second baseman Sara Kennedy throws to first after tagging a base runner, as short stop Mikayla Kuligowski looks on, during Newtown's 7-2 win over visiting Westhill in state playoff action, on June 4.
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