One out away from a victory and taking three of four contests in what was a tough week, the Jonathan Law softball team had reason to sweat. With two runners on, Cheshire sent Casey Harding to the plate.
Harding lofted a fly ball to right where Law’s Justine Bannon was shaded toward center field. A full-out sprint and dive by Bannon resulted in a game-ending catch and a 2-1 Law victory at Jonathan Law Thursday afternoon.
“Our defense is going to win games for us,” Law coach Melanie Paolini said after her team improved to 7-2. “Day in and day out, they work hard and they go after everything. Left to right, I think we have the strongest outfield going. All three kids (Erin Saley, Steph Cameron and Justine Bannon) can cover two-thirds of the outfield themselves. They cover so much ground and they have great arms.”
With the Eagles leading 2-1 entering the seventh inning, Cheshire (6-2) rallied with two outs as ninth-place hitter Courtney Goggin reached second on an error before BryAnna McIntosh was intentionally walked, setting up Bannon’s clinching catch.
Law got on the board when the Eagles scored in the bottom of the first. Gege Romero singled to right with one out, moved to second on Jenna Bernard’s groundout and scored two batters later when Danielle Gray singled to center.
“The first inning is huge to jump on them, especially a team like Cheshire,” Paolini said. “We have been preaching if we score one run an inning, we will have seven runs at the end of the game. We are not going to lose many games this year scoring seven runs.”
The Rams evened the contest in the second inning as Abigail Abramson walked and scored two batters later when Megan Hodgdon doubled to left-center field.
Bernard pitched well for Law, going the distance and allowing just four hits, striking out nine and walking three.
Bernard came up big in the fourth inning when Olivia Odermatt singled to lead off and moved to second on a sacrifice. Odermatt went no further as Bernard ended the inning with a pop out and a strikeout.
The fourth inning was good for Bernard. Her drive to center to lead off the inning hit off the top of the fence and rolled over for a home run and a 2-1 lead.
“Getting close to the Foran game (Monday), the girls are apt to start thinking about them,” Paolini said. “They were clearly focused on Cheshire today. We hit toward the end of the week, which is good.
“This is a big win. We came into the week with four straight games. Against East Haven and Cheshire, mentally you are thinking about a split. You never know what to expect. We made some plays today.”
Cheshire again had an opportunity to score in the fifth. Hodgdon walked to lead off the inning, but was caught stealing by Law catcher Amanda Leone. McIntosh hit a two-out double, but she was left stranded when Bernard got Harding to ground to third to end the inning.
Law had two opportunities to build on the lead but couldn’t do so in the fifth and sixth innings. In the fifth, freshman Cassidy Boath was hit by a pitch, went to second on Saley’s grounder to third for the second out and was left stranded when Steph Cameron struck out against MacKenzie Juodaitis.
Leone hit a two-out single in the sixth but did not come around to score as Juodaitis struck out Gray to end the inning.