BRISTOL >> Revenge complete.
Last season, one team stood in the way of Southington softball’s perfect season. On Wednesday, the Blue Knights avenged that loss to Bristol Central in convincing fashion.
Southington tore the cover off the ball on its way to an 11-2 victory over the Rams at Bristol Central High School on Wednesday afternoon.
The two runs Southington allowed were just the fifth and sixth its allowed this season and only the second time its allowed more than one run in a game. The Blue Knights are outscoring opponents, 148-6.
Southington’s batters got to Ileish Burney early and often.
“From the first batter in the first inning they were driving line drives,” Southington coach Davina Hernandez said. “Every single one of them was driving it hard.”
Hayle Arduini, who moved from right field to center in the absence of Emily Lippincott, drove a one-out double. Haley Messenger, her replacement in right, followed with a hard hit ball to first base that was misplayed by Christina Bouvier.
“She stepped in after sitting the bench most of the season,” Hernandez said of Messenger, who started her first varsity game. “That’s what I love, when she gets the opportunity she’s ready to play.”
Caroline Burke singled to load the bases for Kaitlin Paterson, who stepped delivered a bases-clearing triple down the right field line, giving the Blue Knights a 3-0 lead.
“They knew we had to hit line drives and ground balls and we utilized the small game,” Hernandez said. “My nine batter [Burke] got on every single time.”
The three-run lead was more than enough for Southington pitcher Kendra Friedt.
The junior is quickly making a name for herself as one of the state’s most dominant pitchers and added to her resumé vs. Bristol Central.
After allowing a one out walk to Bristol Central’s Katie Curry in the first, Friedt retired 15 in a row before freshman Ali Holden broke up the no-hit bid with a one-out single in the sixth.
“She worked really hard all off-season in the gym and tried to build up her stamina,” Hernandez said. “I think that has really paid off for her this year. She goes to pitching workouts after practice, she does everything she can to maximize her endurance.”
“The change this year with Kendra is that her ball is moving and it’s tailing and it’s rising. She’s just a totally different player than she was last year.”
Meanwhile, Southington kept scoring. A single run came in the third off an error and a couple of ground outs.
Southington added two in the fourth. Messenger led off with a double down the left-field line and scored on a Paterson groundout. Lauren Zazzaro reached on a fielder’s choice and scored when Ferrante tripled to right.
But the big inning for Southington was the fifth.
Natalie Wadolowski, who missed the team’s previous two games due to an ankle injury, led off with a single to right-center. Four of the next five batters reached safely and, with two out, Zazzaro singled home two runs. Sydney Ferrante followed with a two-run double to give Southington an 11-0 lead.
Eleven was the magic number for the Blue Knights as Friedt also recorded 11 strikeouts, putting her at 124 on the year.
“They definitely have a very good offense and they have a defense to back it up,” Bristol Central coach Nicole Shook said. “You’ll be very successful and win a lot of softball games when you combine those two.”
The first two Bristol Central hits came in the sixth.
In the seventh, Chandler Walker connected for an RBI triple and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Sam Laviero. Friedt allowed one more single before ending the game on a ground out.
“She’s definitely a very good pitcher,” Shook said said of Friedt. “(She’s) very talented and we just didn’t make the adjustments early enough today. We made some adjustments in the last inning. But unfortunately it was a little too late.”
A busy week concludes for Southington Thursday when it face New Britain at home, the last of four consecutive games.
Bristol Central closes out the week with cross-town rival Bristol Eastern on Friday at Eastern. Special game time at 4:15.