SEYMOUR >> Despite winning a state championship as sophomores, Seymour pitcher Raeanne Geffert and catcher Amanda Harkins both admitted that winning the title as seniors would be even more meaningful.
Geffert and Harkins were battery mates in 2014 when the Wildcats defeated East Haven for the Class M title. The two will get the start again when third-seeded Seymour (26-1) takes on No. 5 Rocky Hill (22-1) for the Class M championship Friday night at 7 at DeLuca Field in Stratford.
“Just to win it our senior year, last game, I think that would probably be the best thing that could ever happen in my life,” Geffert said.
Said Harkins: “Honestly, it would be awesome. Winning it sophomore year was like the best feeling ever. Winning it this year would just be the icing on top of the cake.”
The championship game is the final stop on Geffert’s redemption tour. Seymour lost to Oxford in last season’s NVL championship game, but the Wildcats rebounded to reclaim the league title this season.
Seymour’s season ended last year in the Class M semifinals against St. Joseph.
“I wanted it so badly last year,” Geffert said. “But this year it’s the last game I’m ever going to play as a Seymour Wildcat and I want it even more.”
It seemed like Seymour and St. Joseph were on a collision course to meet in the final this year, but Rocky Hill upset the top-seeded Cadets 1-0 in the semifinals as senior pitcher Jess Greenspan stymied the normally potent St. Joseph offense.
“Rocky Hill beat St. Joseph,” Seymour coach Ken Pereiras said. “They were the better team that day, their pitcher was fantastic. That’s a good hitting team, St. Joseph, and she shut them down pretty well.
“I don’t know if we’re the favorites, they’re a really good team. We were well-aware of them several weeks ago that they were very good. We’re just going to play it like they’re the best team and do whatever we have to do to try and win.”
This year’s final may very well be a pitcher’s duel. Geffert has been one of the state’s best since her auspicious debut as a sophomore, when she was named the Register All-Area most valuable player.
Geffert will attempt to lead the Wildcats to their 10th state championship. Rocky Hill defeated Seymour in the semifinals en route to the Terriers’ lone title in 2012.
“It’s a lot of pressure,” Geffert said. “Everybody expects Seymour to do well, and everyone expects me to be on top of my game. I just have to come in with that game face and make sure I am focused at all times. The most important thing, for me at least, is my mental game. I have to be there all the time and I have to stay focused, even in the offseason. In the offseason I was working to get back to this game.”
Geffert and Harkins have been battery mates for quite some time, and Harkins said she wouldn’t want anyone but Geffert to be in the pitching circle with a championship on the line.
“I’ve very confident in her,” Harkins said. “She’s a great pitcher. She can get the job done.”
During practice this week, Pereiras has stressed to Geffert, Harkins and fellow seniors Ashley Andes and CassieRossetti how memorable it would be to end their careers with a state championship.
“It’s always special for any senior class,” Pereiras said. “It would be special for Rocky Hill’s senior class. These kids are here for four years, they worked their butts off. Now it’s time to produce in the state championship and win it for them.”