STRATFORD — Two years ago, Coginchaug was beaten by Somers in the CIAC Class S softball championship game.
The Blue Devils will get another shot at Somers Friday night.
Fourth-seeded Coginchaug used the pitching of Kelly Boothroyd and some timely hitting to upset top-seeded Notre Dame-Fairfield (20-3 and 8th-ranked in final regular season GametimeCT.com state poll) 5-2 in the nightcap of the CIAC Class S semifinals Monday night at Frank DeLuca Hall of Fame Field.
With Somers’ 7-2 victory over Shepaug in the other semifinal, this year’s Class S championship will be a rematch of pitchers Boothroyd and Somers pitcher Emily Reynolds, who both faced each other as sophomores in the 2019.
“We are so ready for this game,” Coginchaug coach Steve DeMartino said. “I’ve been waiting all year for this rematch.”
Boothroyd had a smile on her face as she discussed the rematch.
“Out of all the teams we could have played, I’m very excited,” Boothroyd said. “We shouldn’t have lost that game two years ago. I’m excited to get another chance.”
“Boothroyd pitched well,” Notre Dame coach Jeff Bevino said. “She mixed up her pitches and had us off balance.”
Coginchaug (19-3) got on the board in the top of the second as Notre Dame freshman pitcher Judy Tarczali struggled with her control. Allison Strong walked and went to second with two out when Ava Morenna was hit by a pitch. Amalia DeMartino followed with a single to right to make it 1-0.
Notre Dame tied it at 1-1 when Mack Stone-Folmar blasted a no doubter homer straightaway over the center field fence with two outs in the third.
The lead didn’t last long as Coginchaug capitalized in the top of the fourth. Natalie Ness singled to center to lead off the inning and then Alayna Mariani was hit with a pitch. After a fielder’s choice, DeMartino singled to fill the bases.
Dana Boothroyd followed with a sacrifice fly to plate Morenna and make it 2-1. Tarczali bounced back to get Kelly Boothroyd to strike out for what seemed to end the inning, but Notre Dame catcher Jocelyn Vargas dropped the third strike and didn’t throw the ball down to first, loading the bases. Jackie Kelly walked to force in a run to give Coginchaug a 3-1 lead.
“She (Tarczali) likes to throw that rise ball, but I wanted her to throw a lot of pitches,” DeMartino said. “I wouldn’t want to face her in three years.”
“She (Tarczali) had a tough night and you can’t have a tough night in the state semifinals,” Bevino said. “That’s a good team over there.”
The Blue Devils added another insurance run in the top of the fifth when Ness doubled with one out and Morenna lined a double just inside the chalk down the right field line to score Ness.
“Every kid did their part in the game from Kelly on the mound to our 1-2 hitters in the lineup and our center fielder (Jackie Kelly) making a diving catch,” DeMartino said. “That’s what makes a team.”
Notre Dame rallied in the bottom of the seventh with Riley Marko singling to left for a run. The Lancers loaded the bases thanks to an intentional walk of Stone-Folmar for the second time in the game.
“I came into the game saying I’m not going to let her beat me,” DeMartino said. “I wasn’t going to pitch to her at all. I made the mistake of pitching to her the second at bat. But I talked myself out of it.”
Then Boothroyd fanned Tarczali and got Izzy Ingersoll to pop up to end the game.
“You have to give No. 26 over there credit,” Bevino. “She did that. She had a heck of a game and her team supported her.”