WEST HAVEN >> Seymour had just one hit, but made the most of its opportunities against East Haven in the Class M state championship game.
The top-seeded Wildcats used small ball to generate both runs in a 2-0 victory over the No. 7 Easties Saturday at Biondi Field.
It is the ninth state title for Seymour and first since 2009. The Wildcats (26-1) have won 24 straight games since losing to Torrington on April 11.
Senior Katie Petroski, Seymour’s leadoff batter, scored twice and capped an outstanding career with her first state title.
“It really was the cherry on top,” said Petroski, who will play at the University of Pennsylvania. “It’s the greatest experience of my life thus far. It’s fantastic, I don’t really have words to describe it.”
Petroski reached on a two-base error to start the bottom of the first inning, went to third on a sacrifice and scored on Makayla O’Hara’s single. In the third, Petroski walked with one out, went all the way to third on an infield error and scored on sophomore Raeanne Geffert’s squeeze bunt.
That was more than enough support for Geffert, who allowed two hits and struck out five. Geffert was named the game’s most outstanding player. O’Hara’s first-inning single was Seymour’s only hit off East Haven pitcher Talia Loda, but the Wildcats executed to perfection.
“We had to make sure we were manufacturing runs,” Petroski said. “We had to get behind our pitcher, give her some support so she can relax. When she relaxes, she’s fantastic.”
East Haven errors in the first and third proved to be the difference.
“It was a great game, both teams played well,” said Seymour coach Ken Pereiras, who won his fourth title as head coach. “They made a couple of errors, we took advantage of them, and that’s what it came down to.”
Despite committing an error of their own, the Wildcats made several fine defensive plays, including two by freshman second baseman Shari Minalga in the fifth inning. Seymour also recorded a 1-3-5 double play in the fourth.
“Every day we spend at least an hour playing defense, working on situations,” Pereiras said. “Our assistant coach, Neil Swanchak, has really helped us to get better at that. We he came along (Swanchak returned as an assistant this season), we said he was going to make the difference for us. We’ve been close in the past (Seymour lost in the final in 2011), we brought him on and he helped us get this state title.”
East Haven sophomore Allie Luzzi led off the game with a single, but was stranded at third. The Easties (20-6) also left a runner on second in the third and again in the seventh after McKenzie Miessau doubled with two outs.
East Haven, which reached its first championship game since the program won its lone title in 1984, made a spirited run to the final, but the Easties fell just short a year after losing in the semifinals.
“We started off 5-4; people doubted us,” said East Haven coach Ed Crisafi, in his 21st season at the helm. “Then we won 15 out of 16 to get here. But once you get here, you want to win it. This isn’t good enough either.”
The Easties will bid adieu to five seniors, including Loda.
“This senior group is the best group I’ve ever had,” Crisafi said. “What a great group. They will be missed.”
Geffert and Seymour also won the Naugatuck Valley League title this season, again using its speed and bunting ability to score.
“After the NVL, our intensity upped and we knew what we had to do here,” Geffert said. “We knew it was going to much more difficult than in the NVL, and we just stepped it up. This is great. Great.”
SEYMOUR 2, EAST HAVEN 0
(at West Haven)
East Haven 000 000 0 — 0 2 2
Seymour 101 000 X — 2 1 1
Talia Loda and McKenzie Miessau; Raeanne Geffert and Amanda Harkins.
WP: Raeanne Geffert (26-1). LP: Talia Loda (15-6). 2B: (EH) McKenzie Miessau. RBI: Raeanne Geffert, Makayla OHara (SE);
Team records: East Haven 20-6; Seymour 26-1.