Softball Team Topples Stratford In Possible Playoff Preview
In a possible preview of a first- or later-round South-West Conference tournament game, and a contest that factored into earning a first-round home contest, Newtown High School’s softball team pulled away to defeat visiting Stratford 8-1 in a rescheduled game on May 11.
The Nighthawks got a run in the third, four in the fourth, and three more in the sixth before the Red Devils broke up the shutout in the top of the seventh inning.
Pitcher Shauna Tucker got on base with a single, and pinch runner Heather Stroili stole second base and eventually scored on Kim Buttery’s groundout for a 1-0 lead.
In the fourth, Kendra Saunders, Katie Goyda, and Angela Carriero hit singles to load the bases. Taylor McPadden’s RBI single made it 2-0. An RBI single by Stroili made it 3-0. Jackie Moccio’s sacrifice fly and an error on the play produced two runs for a 5-0 cushion.
Newtown established some breathing room in the sixth. Natalie Horn and Carriero both had singles before McPadden drove in another run on a fielder’s choice. Moccio and Buttery plated runs to add to the lead.
Tucker allowed four hits and struck out five batters, including fanning the side in the fifth, and did not issue a walk.
“Because of this win, it might mean that we’re here instead of there,” said Coach Joanna Closs, referring to the chance of the Hawks and Red Devils facing each other as the fourth and fifth seeds.
The top four teams earn quarterfinal-round home tilts. Newtown improved to 10-7 overall and 7-3 in conference play, and Stratford fell to 13-4 and 8-4 in the conference. Both teams had games remaining, with the regular slate scheduled to conclude with more rain-forced makeup contests in mid May.
The Nighthawks bounced back from an 11-2 loss to the SWC’s top seed, Masuk of Monroe, the day before. Sixth-inning walks by Moccio and Horn and RBI by Saunders and Carriero produced Newtown’s runs.
Closs was pleased with her team’s effort against Masuk, adding that once the Hawks fell behind, she asked the team to improve as the game unfolded. After being run-ruled by Masuk the first go-around, the Hawks not only took the Panthers seven innings, but loaded the bases twice, including in the seventh inning.
“They grinded. They kept trying,” Closs said.
Newtown blanked Bunnell of Stratford 22-0 on Senior Night, at Treadwell Park, on May 8. Moccio celebrated the evening in style with a grand slam. Moccio had three hits and four runs scored.
Sienna Cummings had two hits and two RBI, Ryssa Swanson had two hits and three runs batted in, Saunders had three hits and three RBI, Carriero had three hits and three RBI, and Tucker had three hits and a trio of runs batted in.
The postseason is set to get underway on Saturday, May 18. SWC semifinals will be held Tuesday, May 21, with the championship game on Wednesday, May 22.
“I think we have a very good chance at progressing. If they play the way I know they can play, I think they’ve got as good a chance at progressing as anybody,” Closs said.
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