Softball team's successful year ends in loss to defending champs

Published: June 02, 2018 at 12:00 am


Sara Kennedy struck out 12 batters in Newtown's state playoff win over New Britain. (Bee Photo, Hutchison)
Sara Kennedy struck out 12 batters in Newtown's state playoff win over New Britain. (Bee Photo, Hutchison)
Shannon Cheh takes a swing. (Bee Photo, Hutchison)
Shannon Cheh takes a swing. (Bee Photo, Hutchison)
Newtown High School's softball team got the potential tying runs on base in the top of the sixth inning but wasn't able to overcome defending champion Trumbull in a 3-1 road loss in the Class LL state tournament quarterfinal round on June 1.

No. 2 Trumbull moved into the semifinals and a stellar season ended for the tenth-seeded and upset-minded Nighthawks, who had gotten by No. 7 Fairfield Ludlowe, 6-3, in the second round.

Sara Kennedy pitched well for Newtown, limiting an offense that put up double-digit run totals 11 times in the regular season and postseason, to its third-lowest run total of the campaign (behind a 2-1 setback to Joel Barlow of Redding and a 6-0 loss to St Joseph of Trumbull in the FCIAC championship game).

The Eagles scratched for single runs in the third, fourth, and fifth innings.

Newtown had several hard hit balls that were fielded by the Eagles, including a diving stop by shortstop Julia Huzi, helping to thwart the Nighthawk offense.

"We just hit the ball right to them and they made the plays. There's nothing really you can do about that. They were the better team today," Newtown catcher Tess Mubarek said.

"They're a very good team. It didn't come out the way I wanted but I'm happy with the way we played," Kennedy said.

Newtown loaded the bases with no outs in the sixth on walks by Angela Carriero and Kaysie Fisher sandwiching a Tess Mubarek single to center but was limited to a run when Heather Stroili grounded into a force out.

"I think this was a very successful season and I'm very proud of my team. Definitely a successful season. We had young kids on this team that stepped up," Newtown Coach Joanna Closs.

In addition to the underclassmen taking on key roles, seniors did their part.

Kennedy was solid in the pitcher's circle all season long and added a spark in the batting order, Fisher and Shannon Cheh displayed power at the plate, Mubarek took on the catcher's role a handful of games into the slate, and Rachel O'Grady led the defensive effort in the outfield, playing center regularly.

"All the seniors contributed this year which is awesome," Closs added. "It's going to be hard to replace them. All of them contributed and all of them had a successful senior season."

The Nighthawks reached the South-West Conference championship game before falling to unbeaten Masuk and gave a Trumbull team that went 19-1 during the regular slate a run for its money.

"It's hard to be upset with that when you're losing to great teams," Closs said.

Newtown had plenty of fan support on the road in the playoffs, and that didn't go unnoticed.

"It's great to see everybody here and cheering everybody on. It was a really good experience," Mubarek said of the Hawks reaching the state quarterfinals.

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