WEST HAVEN >> Amity pitcher Katie Koshes dominated in the circle, but it was her bat that sent the Spartans to the Class LL state championship game.
Koshes laid down a bunt with two outs and beat the throw to first, allowing Heather Watt to score the winning run in a 2-1 walk off victory over 11th-seeded South Windsor in a semifinal game Tuesday at Biondi Field.
“Get it down,” thought Koshes when she got the sign to bunt. “I had a bunt (single) a few innings before, so I knew I just had to get it down and get the run in.”
No. 7 Amity (22-5) advances to its 13th state championship game. It last won the state title in 2012. The Spartans will play Southington in the championship, most likely on Saturday evening.
This is the seventh time Amity and Southington have faced in a softball championship. Each team has won three times. Amity defeated the Lady Knights for the championship in its last trip to the final in 2012 and have won the last three times the teams met for the title.
Heather Watt, the Spartans’ No. 9 batter, singled to left field with one out in the bottom of the seventh. Watt went to second on a passed ball, and to third on a ground out, to set up Koshes’ heroics.
“I have so much confidence in my team,” Watt said. “I knew we were going to score and win.”
A single in the third, and another in the seventh, were the only hits Koshes allowed. She did walk four, but struck out 16.
“Kate threw a fantastic game,” Amity coach Loren Purcell said. “She had a lot of pop on the ball. She moved the ball inside and out, up and down. She had a great command of all of her pitches today. And at the plate I really can’t complain. She laid down two perfect bunts and helped advance us.”
Amity junior Jenna DiLorenzo was hit by a pitch to lead off the second inning. DiLorenzo stole second and then scored on Jill DeMaio’s single to give the Spartans a 1-0 lead. DiLorenzo finished with three stolen bases.
The Bobcats (17-7) tied the game in the third. After Koshes worked two strikeouts, she walked the next two batters before Miread Kelly’s bloop single scored Linda Nguyen. Becca Rewinski singled in the seventh for South Windsor.
Prior to the seventh, Amity left six runners on base and didn’t bunt when it put its leadoff batter on in both the fifth and the sixth innings.
“Basically we were trying to extend those innings a little bit further,” Amity coach Loren Purcell said. “That’s why we weren’t looking to lay down the bunt on those plays.”
Said South Windsor coach Mandy Roczniak: “When (an opponent) gets runners in scoring position that many times, it comes back to bite you a little bit.”
Krista Reynolds had a single and triple for Amity. Reynolds and Koshes combined for four of the Spartans seven hits off sophomore Peyton Silverman. Silverman, who has made a verbal commitment to play at North Carolina State, didn’t walk a batter and struck out eight.
Purcell was an assistant with Amity when the Spartans won the title in 2012, but this is her first trip to the final as head coach.
“It’s fantastic,” Purcell said.
AMITY 2, SOUTH WINDSOR 1
(at West Haven)
South Windsor 001 000 0 — 1 2 0
Amity 010 000 1 — 2 7 0
Peyton Silverman and Miread Kelly; Katie Koshes and Janaya Young.
WP: Katie Koshes. LP: Peyton Silverman. 2B: (AM) Jill DeMaio. 3B: (AM) Katie Reynolds. RBI: Kelly (SWN); Katie Koshes, Jill DeMaio (AM);
Team records: South Windsor 17-7; Amity 22-5.