BEACON FALLS >> No. 2 seed Seymour edged No. 1 Torrington in what could be described as a game for the ages in Seymour’s 18th NVL championship Friday afternoon at Woodland High School.
“When it looks like it’s over, it’s not over,” summarized Torrington coach Maryann Musselman.
The statement rang true three different times in the clash between the second and third-ranked teams in the Register/GameTimeCT Top 10 poll.
For the first four innings, it was pure pitcher’s duel between Torrington senior Sydney Matzko (7 innings, 1 earned run, 3 hits, 14 strikeouts, 2 hit batters) and Seymour sophomore Reanne Geffert (7 innings, 1 earned run, 5 hits, 11 strikeouts, 1 walk), the tournament’s MVP.
In those four innings, Wildcats Katie Petroski and Shari Minalga had bunt singles; Cassie Rossetti grounded a hit down the third base line against Matzko. No harm done.
Raider Nikki Jamieson’s first-inning single up the middle was the only dent against Geffert.
With eight strikeouts for Matzko and seven for Geffert by then, it seemed over for hitters on both sides of the field.
Matzko started the fifth with her ninth strikeout of the game, then lost the handle on a come-backer to the mound by Miranda Zygmunt.
Next up, Laura Dieckman squared for a bunt, caromed it back and showed the umpire it hit her in the hand, then went to first.
Petroski caught a Matzko fastball square on the back, bases loaded, one out.
“I knew it was a big risk calling a squeeze, but my best bunter (Minalga) was up next,” said Seymour coach Ken Pereiras. “It worked.”
Minalga waited for the first pitch. Zygmunt, on third, streaked for home. Minalga dropped a bunt two feet in front of the plate. Zygmunt crossed the plate just in front of a desperate toss from Torrington’s Sara Heath.
“I knew they were going to squeeze,” said Coach Musselman.
Nevertheless, it’s a play that makes things happen.
Up 1-0, bases still loaded, one out, Geffert banged an RBI ground-out to short.
At 2-0 Seymour, with the same kind of pitcher as Torrington’s Matzko on the Seymour mound, it seemed over for some.
After the first inning, when all four Torrington batters got a piece of her pitches, Geffert struck out seven of the next nine Raiders she faced.
A month and a half ago, in Torrington’s 6-1 win, the teams dueled for five innings before the Raiders exploded in the top of the sixth
This time, Seymour had a 2-0 edge and Geffert dealt aces.
Torrington went away hitless in the bottom of the fifth.
“(Geffert) has gotten better as the season goes along,” said Coach Pereiras. “She’s matured. Today, she developed a blood blister on her thumb and played through it.”
But over? Nah; not for either side on Friday.
Matzko struck out the side in the top of the sixth.
Alexa Potter led off with a triple to right center field in the bottom of the inning. Geffert got her eighth strikeout of the game. Brittany Anderson laced an RBI grounder through the left side of the infield, 2-1 Seymour.
Jamieson hit the ball hard, right at Petroski in center field for the second out. Geffert struck out the third.
A Torrington throwing error gave the Wildcats a runner in the top of the seventh. Matzko left Dieckman on first base with two strikeouts and a pop-up.
Bottom of the seventh, last chance, Torrington.
A ground-out to Geffert got the first out.
Raider Sam Pelow dropped a single just inside the left field foul line.
Tyrrell lined a single over the same spot.
Heath walked the bases loaded, one out.
“It’s a very stressful situation,” said Geffert. “I take a step back, take a breath and concentrate on what I’m doing, not anybody else. I’m throwing the next pitch.”
One “next pitch” after another was right on target.
The last two Torrington batters went down swinging.
“I think we should have squeezed and we didn’t,” said Musselman, second-guessing herself.
Nobody else found any “blame” at all.
Two great teams played each other to the wall.
Both teams have just one loss, to each other.
Seymour is the No. 1 seed in Class M.
Torrington is No. 2 in Class L.
When it looks like it’s over, it’s not over.
Seymour 2, Torrington 1
(at Woodland HS)
Seymour 000 020 0 — 2 3 0
Torrington 000 001 0 — 1 5 2
Raenna Geffert and Amanda Harkins; Sydney Matzko and Marissa Morrisa.
WP: Raeanne Geffert (). LP: Sydney Matzko ().
3B: (TO) Alexa Potter.
RBI: Geffert, Minalga (SE); Brittany Anderson (TO);
Team records: Seymour 22-1; Torrington 21-1.
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