STRATFORD >> After recording the game’s final out via strikeout, Seymour pitcher Raeanne Geffert tossed her glove in the air and leaped almost as high as the light posts at DeLuca Field.
That last part might be a bit of an exaggeration, but with Geffert, anything is possible.
The hard-throwing senior allowed just three hits, one walk and struck out 13 in a 1-0 victory over Rocky Hill in the Class M state championship game Friday.
Geffert, who was named the final’s most valuable player, also drove in the game’s only run on a first-inning single.
“This is literally the best moment of my life,” Geffert said. “I am so happy right now. We graduated (Thursday) and we got a state championship today. I am so happy.”
It was the 10th state title for the third-seeded Wildcats (27-1), and the second in three seasons. Geffert was also the winning pitcher in the Class M final in 2014.
“This one means a lot more to me,” Geffert said. “This is the end, I ended it on a strikeout. I can’t tell you how happy I am.”
Seymour junior second baseman Shari Minalga doubled with one out in the bottom of the first inning and then scored on Geffert’s single.
“We knew we had to come out strong in the beginning,” Minalga said. “When (leadoff batter) Becca (Johnson) didn’t get a hit, I thought to myself that this was my time and I had to lead the team. I just swung the bat like I knew how to do.”
— Mike Pucci (@MikePucciNHR) June 11, 2016
That provided the Wildcats with the only run they would need, but both teams squandered several opportunities to score.
Seymour had a runner in scoring position in the second, third and fifth innings. Twice the Wildcats were caught stealing, including on a first-and-third play in the third.
“We had some runners on base,” Seymour coach Ken Pereiras said. “The first-and-third, I kind of blew that. Maybe it was a bad time to try that first-and-third steal. They made a good play to get the girl out at home.”
Rocky Hill senior Victoria Spellman led off the game with a single and took second on a Geffert balk, but Geffert struck out the side to end the inning. The No. 6 Terriers (22-2) put two runners on after a single and an error on an fly ball to the outfield, but Geffert struck out the next two batters to end that threat. Riley Pickett led off the fourth with a single and then stole second, but Pickett was called out for leaving first too early.
“It’s extremely frustrating,” Rocky Hill coach Tyler Catlin said. “The girls, they’re not frustrated in the dugout, they always think they can do it. They’ve always had a very good can-do attitude this whole season. I believe in my players one through nine. Each time we had a runner on second or in scoring position, I believed we had a chance to pull through.”
Rocky Hill reached the championship game in Catlin’s first season. The Terriers were making their second trip to the final. Rocky Hill won its lone title in 2012.
Senior pitcher Jess Greenspan settled down after allowing a run in the first inning. Greenspan surrendered six hits, walked two, hit another and struck out one.
“I think she started pitching more to the players instead of away,” Minalga said. “She has a good curve that she was throwing us. I did think she settled down.”
Minalga finished with two hits. She also played well defensively, as did sophomore shortstop Beca Findley.
“She (Minalga) was fantastic,” Pereiras said. “She had a big hit in the first inning to get us going and, defensively, she was solid.”
SEYMOUR 1, ROCKY HILL 0
Rocky Hill 000 000 0 — 0 3 1
Seymour 100 000 X — 1 6 1
Jess Greenspan and Arianna Genovese; Raeanne Geffert and Amanda Harkins.
WP: Raeanne Geffert. LP: Jess Greenspan. 2B: (SE) Shari Minalga, Beca Findley. RBI: Raeanne Geffert (SE);
Team records: Rocky Hill 22-2; Seymour 27-1.