STRATFORD >> Ashley Guillette wasn’t perfect, but her performance was more than good enough to lead the Oxford softball team into the Class M state championship game.
Guillette, a senior, tossed a no-hitter, struck out 17, walked one batter and hit another in a 6-0 victory over sixth-seeded Tolland in the semifinals Monday at DeLuca Field.
It is the second time in three seasons the No. 2 Wolverines will play for a state title. Guillette guided Oxford to the Class S crown in 2013, the only other time the Wolverines have advanced to a state final.
Guillette, who threw a perfect game against Rocky Hill in this year’s quarterfinals, was perfect through four innings Monday before she walked Tolland catcher Jen Slane to lead off the top of the fifth inning. Guillette hit a batter in the sixth.
“I felt pretty good,” Guillette said. “I knew my team had my back.”
Kelly Shea laid down a successful sacrifice bunt following Slane’s walk in the fifth for the Eagles (19-5).
After Guillette worked a strikeout for the second out, an infield error put two runners on for the only time against Guillette in this game. But another Guillette strikeout ended the threat.
“Of course (Guillette was as good as advertised),” Tolland coach Bill Pompa said. “When you see someone with that quality, with that speed, and all those different pitches, she’s the real deal.”
Oxford (25-1) collected six hits, but left six on, and the game remained scoreless through four innings.
Tolland worked out of several jams, including in the first three innings.
“There were a lot of goose eggs up on the board there in the beginning,” Pompa said. “It was just a matter of if we could crack first, maybe it might have made a difference.”
The Wolverines finally broke through against Eagles junior pitcher Amaria Sharon in the fifth. Senior catcher Kaley Kempf led off the inning with a single before junior Meg Sastram launched a two-run home run to give the Wolverines all the runs they would need. Freshman Sam Kostek added a run-scoring single in the inning.
In the sixth, Cassie Veltry walked and Ally Sweeney singled to lead off the inning before Kempf belted a three-run home run to complete the scoring. Kempf finished with three hits and two runs. Sweeney, Kostek and Ashley Lombardi each had two hits.
The Oxford senior class won SWC tournament titles in 2012 and last season, and won the NVL title in its first year in that league this year, in addition to the state championship as sophomores.
“We’ve been saying all year that we wanted to send our fellow seniors off with a ring,” Kempf said. “It’s good to be back in the championship.”
OXFORD 6, TOLLAND 0
Tolland 000 000 0 — 0 0 1
Oxford 000 033 X — 6 12 1
Amaria Sharon and Jen Slane; Ashley Guillette and Kaley Kempf.
WP: Ashley Guillette. LP: Amaria Sharon. Hr: Kaley Kempf, Meg Sastrum (OX); RBI: Kempf (3), Sastrum (2), Sam Kostek (OX);
Team records: Tolland 19-5; Oxford 25-1.