STRATFORD >> It wasn’t the most conventional way or the Old Saybrook way, but the Rams managed to pull out a 5-4 win over Coginchaug to advance to the Class S finals, while only having one hit in the game.
“I’ve been telling them all year, I told them if we put the ball in play, challenge them and see what happens,” Old Saybrook head coach Laura Westner said. “It was uncharacteristic of our team, we usually hit and hit.”
The Rams, who couldn’t figure out Coginchaug starter Gabriella Diaz all game except Emily Rose Santamaria’s base hit in the first inning, put the ball in play and forced the Devils to make plays in the fifth, the Devils didn’t.
Trailing 2-0, Old Saybrook’s Miceala Effinger led off the inning with a pop up to Diaz, who mis-communicated with Courtney Votto and they dropped the ball. Ellis Welsh then laid down a bunt; Diaz tried to get the runner at second and threw it to center field.
“We definitely lucked out, we were looking for a sacrifice to move her over and then we had two on,” Westner said.
Christina Gosselin then walked and Paige Trabucchi knocked in a run with a sacrifice fly. Welsh then scored on a passed ball to tie the game.
“Our team feeds off of energy,” Rams starting pitcher, Effie Gianitsos said.
Then the errors piled on the Blue Devils on one play.
With two runners on, Gianitsos hit a ground ball to Votto. Votto tried to get the runner at the plate and the runner got caught in between third and home. Coginchaug catcher Natalie Labasi then tried to get Rose Santamaria going to third and she threw it away, letting her score and Gianitsos to end up on third, giving the Rams a 4-2 lead.
Gianitsos would score on an RBI ground out to give the Rams a 5-2 lead.
The Rams scored five runs in the inning, getting no hits.
“We are a hitting team with a lot of sluggers,” Gianitsos said. “Any pitcher who can one hit us, kudos to them.”
The Blue Devils would get two back in the top of the sixth, on a sacrifice fly by Kiara Casanova scoring Labasi and then an error on the relay throw allowed Taylor Marino to score, cutting the Rams’ lead to just 5-4.
But that was it for the Blue Devils, as Gianitsos shut them down in order in the seventh to hold on to the lead.
“One bad inning, they had one hit and we had seven. That’s high school softball,” Coginchaug head coach Ann Moscovics said. “You can’t make mental errors, communication.”
Moscovics though credited her team with coming back the inning after to pull the game within one, but she was saddened that they lost when they only gave up one hit.
“The girls didn’t give up, they worked hard,” she said. “If you have seven hits to one, you shouldn’t be losing, but I wish the best to them.”
Old Saybrook returns the Class S finals for the first time since 1989 and will face Thomaston, who defeated Coventry, 2-1 in nine innings.
Old Saybrook 5 Coginchaug 4
At DeLuca Field
Old Saybrook 000050 – 5 1 0
Coginchaug 0002020 – 2 7 4
WP: Effie Gianitsos
LP: Gabriella Diaz
2B: C – Destiny Helmedach; Kiara Casanova.
RBI: C – Casanova . O – Paige Trabucci; Emily Rose Santamaria; Lauren Pascoe.
Records: Old Saybrook 18-6 Coginchaug 16-8.