TORRINGTON >> Torrington High School All-State pitcher Sydney Matzko turned in her first no-hitter of the season against a feisty young Crosby team (0-5) Friday afternoon while Red Raider hitters continued to show improvement over last year.
The combination produced a mercy-rule 16-1 Torrington win in five innings for the 5-0 defending NVL champions.
Still, the Bulldogs were a bit of a surprise.
“They were scrappy,” said Matzko, who struck out the first seven batters she faced, with just one pitch called for a ball, then watched the Bulldogs’ grit come out.
“We lost eight seniors last year, so we’re playing five freshmen and just one returning senior,” said first-year Bulldog coach John O’Toole. “We’re growing every day. We made contact today. We’re going to win plenty of games.”
With one down in the top of the third, Crosby junior Terrah Harris lay down a great bunt, then got to second on a throwing error to first. Yasirys Castillo, Crosby’s No. 9 hitter, got her bat on a pitch for a ground-out to second, sending Harris to third, two outs.
Lead-off hitter Brittany Balek followed with a fly to short left field, in-and-out of Alexa Potter’s glove at shoe-top level. The run scored. A final decision ruled in Matzko’s favor for an error and her first no-hitter.
On her way to 12 strikeouts in five innings, Matzko allowed fair-ball contact just two more times — to Nej Kora on a comebacker to the mound in the fourth and Emilyh Lago’s line drive to shortstop Sam Pelow in the fifth.
It’s a shout-out to Matzko’s success that contact with her pitches is an appropriate point of pride for most teams. Heading for Division I North Carolina next year, she’s 100 strikeouts away from a career 1,000, with an even 60 so far this season.
Meanwhile, the hits keep coming for her Red Raider teammates.
Bulldog senior pitcher Balek (4.2 innings, 12 earned runs, 14 hits, 4 strikeouts, 4 walks) is part of Crosby’s feistiness, from the mound.
Nevertheless, senior Nikki Jamieson (3-for-3, double, 3 runs) and junior Brittany Anderson (3 runs) started the Raider game big with a leadoff single and home run in the bottom of the first. A single by Marissa Morris (3-for-4, double, 4 RBI) and a double by Alexa Potter (2-for-2, 2 doubles, 2 RBI) led to two more runs.
Holding this year’s Torrington team to four runs in the first and none in the second is akin to making contact with a Matzko pitch.
In either case, the tendency for Matzko and the Raiders is to bear down. For Matzko, more strikeouts.
“I try to strike them out, but I’m also working on my pitches and trying to get them better,” she said.
For the hitters, it can lead to big innings like Torrington’s third and fourth.
Five runs in the third came from doubles by Potter and Alexis Tyrell (2-for-4, triple, 2 RBI), singles by Jamieson and Morris and two Bulldog errors.
Pelow (3 runs) and Sara Heath (3 runs) started the fourth with a single and two-run homer. Then two walks and doubles by Jamieson and Morris, plus a wild pitch, produced three more runs.
Ahead 14-1 after four, the Raiders needed just two more in the fifth for a mercy-rule win.
The Bulldogs were still scrapping.
Pelow reached first on an error, then second on a ground-out to first. A ground-out to second pushed her to third, two outs.
Dakotah Manson singled her in for one run.
The 15-run margin for the rule is iron-clad. Friday, it cheated Tyrell out of her first varsity home run.
The freshman bashed her hit through the left center field gap. Manson came in for the 16th run, ending the game. Tyrell’s homer turned into a triple.
There’s lots of season left for Matzko strikeouts and Tyrell homers.
That also applies to wins for the feisty Bulldogs.
Torrington 16, Crosby 1
At Torrington High School
Crosby 001 00—1 0 3
Torrington 405 52—16 14 2
WP: Sydney Matzko. LP: Brittany Balek. HR: T—Brittany Anderson; Sara Heath. 3B: T—Alexis Tyrell. 2B: T—Nikki Jamieson; Marissa Morris; Alexa Potter 2.
Records: Crosby 0-5; Torrington 5-0.