STRATFORD >> For five innings the pitcher’s duel between Oxford’s Ashley Guillette and St. Joseph’s Nicole Williams was as good as it gets on the biggest stage of the season.
Guillette entered Friday’s Class M state championship game on the heels of back-to-back no hitters, including a perfect game against Rocky Hill in the quarterfinals, while Williams had allowed just three runs during the Cadets three tournament victories.
“Williams is an unbelievable pitcher,” Oxford coach Jim Husar said. “They’re both outstanding pitchers.”
In the sixth, Oxford showed that they can swing the bats a little too.
The Wolverines broke open a scoreless game with a four-run sixth inning, highlighted by Guillette’s bases clearing double, and No. 2 Oxford captured its second state title in three years with a 4-0 victory in front of 1,500 at DeLuca Field.
Guillette, who will pitch next season for Coastal Carolina, capped a remarkable career by being named the tournament MVP.
“It was typical Ashley,” Husar said. “All four years she always gave us a chance to win. She’s just a hard worker. She’s one of the best in the state.”
Guillette allowed three hits, walked one and struck out 10.
The top-seeded Cadets (26-1) tried to rally in the bottom of the seventh when Jovanna Hillman drew a lead-off walk and Williams singled to left with both runners moving up on an error.
But Guillette got the next three batters to end it.
“She throws hard and then comes back with a nasty change, which is going to catch you off guard,” St. Joseph coach Jeff Babineau said. “A couple of kids did a good job fighting it off and grounding it out but it’s tough. That’s why she’s going where she’s going.”
Williams, who struck out nine, took a no-hitter into the top of the sixth. But Marisa Bruno led off with an infield single that glanced off Williams’ leg. With one out Meghan Sanstram lined a double into the left field corner and Kaley Kempf was walked on four pitches to load the bases.
Cadets shortstop Lauren Pitney then made a great play to get the runner at home on Ally Sweeney’s fielder’s choice grounder. Sophomore Ashley Lombardi, however, lined a single into centerfield for a 1-0 lead and Guillette followed by blasting a double to left center to make it 4-0.
Sophomore Hanna Errico had two bunt singles for St. Joseph, who beat Guillette, 1-0, in last year’s quarterfinals.
“Since they beat us we knew we had to play our A game and not make any errors so that was something that was in all of our heads,” Guillette said. “It means a lot. I’m pretty happy that we got it done.”
Oxford, which won the Naugatuck Valley League championship, finishes 26-1.
“This one was one of our goals,” Husar said. “You try to get to a championship and usually it doesn’t work. We got better during the season and that’s a good thing. I’m happy for the seniors. They’re a special group.”
Oxford 4, St. Joseph 0
(at DeLuca Field, Stratford)
Oxford 000 004 0 — 4 4 1
St. Joseph 000 000 0 — 0 3 1
Oxford: Ashley Guillette and Kaley Kempf; St. Joseph: Nicole Williams and Jovanna Hillman.
WP: Guillette. LP: Williams. 2B: (OX) Sastram, Guillette. RBI: (OX) Lombardi (1), Guillette (3);
Team records: St. Joseph 26-1; Oxford 26-1.