MERIDEN >> There won’t be any going-away state championship for retiring coach Ray Ramelli. And there won’t be bookended state titles for Molly Flowers.
Top-seeded Fitch (26-1) took care of that Saturday night with a 3-1 victory over No. 19 Sacred Heart Academy in the Class L state championship game at the windy Dunn Sports Complex.
“I’m disappointed for the kids,” said Ramelli, who choked back tears after meeting with his players for the final time down the right-field line. “My heart is bursting with pride coaching these kids. They gave me a magical ride.”
Flowers, who pitched Sacred Heart (14-11) to its only state title in 2011 when she was a freshman, allowed only three hits and fanned nine.
“We have a young team and we had a tough schedule,” said Flowers. “To go 10-10 and get to the state finals, I’m so proud of my teammates.”
Fitch broke through in the third inning when Flowers got a little wild, hitting Cassie Woods with a pitch. After Flowers got two popups, she walked Caroline Taber and then allowed an infield hit to Jayden Delaporta. Taylor Wolfgang, who was eventually named MVP, followed by lining a single to center, plating two runs to give the Falcons a 2-0 lead.
“I was looking to make contact with the ball in that situation,” Wolfgang said. “It was 0-0 and we were having trouble hitting her.”
Before Wolfgang’s hit, Flowers hadn’t allowed more than one run in any of the Pacers’ previous four state tournament games.
“I just left it hanging,” said Flowers. “Sometimes you just regret it after you throw it. Putting those two girls on really screwed me in the end.”
Sacred Heart came right back in the top of the fourth. With two outs, Taber walked Flowers and Amanda Beecher singled down the left-field line to put runners on first and second. Maighread Scafariello cut the Pacers’ deficit in half with a single to center, but Taber was able to end the threat by getting Courtney Nowicki to ground out to short.
“I think that was key and we kept our momentum up and their momentum slipped away,” said Fitch coach Arielle Cooper. “We didn’t lose our composure and it all worked out for us.”
Sacred Heart had one other big chance to score in the fifth when Emily Drezek and Annie Carbo were on first and second with one out. But Taber again denied the Pacers by retiring the next two batters.
“We mixed fastballs and changeups here and there, so they couldn’t establish themselves in the box,” said Taber.
Meanwhile, the Falcons tacked on an insurance run in the bottom of the fifth when Taber walked and her courtesy runner, Rylee MacMillan, scored on an error.
“We fought hard and gave it our best,” said Ramelli. “They’re a very good team.”
FITCH 3, SACRED HEART ACADEMY 1
SHA 000 100 0 — 1 5 1
Fitch 002 010 X — 3 3 0
Molly Flowers and Maighread Scafariello; Caroline Tabor and Taylor Wolfgang.
WP: Caroline Taber. LP: Molly Flowers. RBI: Scafariello (SHA); Taylor Wolfgang (2) (FCH); Records: Sacred Heart Academy 15-10; Fitch 26-1.