BERLIN >> Makayla Harris took the ball Thursday afternoon and shut down the bats of Bristol Central.
The All-State pitcher from a year ago struck out six and allowed just one base-runner to reach third as the Redcoats shut out the Rams, 6-0 at Sage Park.
“That’s a great hitting team, to shut them out is quite a statement and she earned it,” Berlin coach Jason Pires said.
Harris (7 IP, 6H, 2 BB, 6 K, 0R), recorded two 1-2-3 innings and didn’t face more than five batters in a frame and when she did, she struck out the side.
The Berlin bats came alive in the fifth inning, already up 2-0.
Brittany Sullivan and Megan Wicander each bunted for a hit. With runners on second and third, Courtney Silvia grounded a hard single up the middle scoring both runners.
“We played a little ‘little ball’ and it worked out for us and then we had one humongous bomb,” Pires said.
That bomb would be off the bat of Kaitlyn Guild (1-3, HR, 2 RBI). The junior launched the ball deep over the head of the Bristol Central left fielder for an inside-the-park home run, her second of the year.
“That girl can hit ’em,” Pires said.
Harris didn’t give the Rams a chance to come back. She allowed one base-runner in the final two innings to earn her fourth win of the year.
Berlin scored runs in the third and fourth innings. Sullivan (2-4, 1 R, 2 SB, RBI) drove in Vanessa Reimer who pinch ran for the catcher, Amanda Patterson in the third.
Silvia (2-3, 3B, 2 RBI) led off the fourth with a triple over the right fielder’s head and scored on a single by Harris two batters later.
The fourth inning was the best chance Bristol Central had to score. McKenna Driscoll led off the inning with a single through the right side and Lauren Vallee walked to give the Rams two base-runners for the only time all afternoon. An unassisted double-play by Callie Veach at first base halted the rally and Lindsay Holden struck out to end the inning.
Allison Martel (2-3, 3B) had the only extra base hit for Central, a triple in the third.
“You have to give credit to Berlin. They’re a very good team offensively and defensively and we need to make sure that we’re on our A-game when we play them,” Bristol Central coach Nicole Shook said. “Today, unfortunately, we did not play with the intensity that we needed to in order to beat Berlin.”
After the one run scored in the fourth, the Rams got out of a bases-loaded jam.
“From any loss you can take a positive and that just reveals things that we need to work on,” Shook said. “There were certain situations defensively that I thought we played well. Bases loaded and we got out of it. So there’s always something positive to take from it. But more importantly there’s something to learn from it.”
Although early in the season, with this victory, Berlin takes another step towards its team-set goal of winning the CCC South.
“This group hasn’t won the CCC South. We finished in second place three times to different teams,” Pires said. “They really have made it their goal … to win the CCC South.”
The Redcoats are in the middle of a 5-game home stand and next play Bristol Eastern on Monday at Sage Park.
Bristol Central returns home at the beginning of next week vs. Platt.