The Masuk softball team, once again, finishes as No. 1 team in the state. The Panthers were the preseason No. 1 and maintained the position throughout the 2021 season.
It wasn’t unanimous, however, with two-time Class LL champion Southington earning one first-place vote to Masuk’s 15.
Still, the majority were compelled to stick with the Panthers after another perfect year led by ace Kathryn Gallant. The junior was dominant all season, going 21-0 with a 0.27 ERA, 0.13 WHIP and 273 strikeouts in 130 innings pitched. She threw two perfect games, six no-hitters and 15 shutouts, including a three-hit shutout against St. Joseph in the Class L final.
Gallant also supplied the offense in Masuk’s 2-0 championship victory, slugging a two-run home run in the fourth inning.
Senior’s Kaitlyn Welch and Jacie Hall finish their Masuk careers with a record of 77-1 over three years in one of the most dominant runs imaginable. That one loss came on May 4th, 2019 to St. Joseph.
Welch finished the season with a .422 batting average with 27 RBIs and 33 runs scored while Hall hit .431 with 20 RBIs and 15 runs scored.
Freshman Natalie Lieto exploded on the scene in 2021, slashing .486/.580/1.055 and leading the team with nine home runs. She drove in 37 runs and scored 32.
Beyond her dominant pitching, Gallant was one of Masuk’s most productive hitters as well. She slashed .532/.558/.974 with five home runs and a team leading 40 RBIs.
Ludlowe, the Class LL runner-up, and St. Joseph, the Class L runner-up, were No. 3 and 4, respectively. Class M champion Seymour returned to the Top 10 at No. 5. Class S champion Coginchaug came in at No. 6.
Final 2021 GameTimeCT Top 10 Softball Poll
|TEAM (1st place votes)||FINAL 2021||PTS||LAST||CLASS|
|1. MASUK (15)||24-0||478||1||L|
|Final Results: Def. Mercy 3-0, Foran 14-2, East Haven 4-0, and St. Joseph 2-0 to win Class L Championship, Bottom Line: Masuk, the only undefeated team in the state, goes wire-to-wire in the top position. Ace Kathryn Gallant threw three shutouts in four state tournament games, including the final. Masuk is 77-1 in the past three season and has won four-straight SWC titles and three-straight Class L titles.|
2. SOUTHINGTON (1)
|Latest Results: Def. New Milford 5-0, Glastonbury 5-0, Hall 8-2, and Ludlowe 4-3 to win Class LL Championship. Bottom Line: Southington defended its 2019 Class LL title with a walk-off victory over Fairfield Ludlowe. Julia Panarella allowed five runs in four tournament games, while Ashlyn Desaulniers was named MVP. After losing its second game, Southington finishes with a 25-game win streak to claim its unprecedented 19th state title in program history.|
|Latest Results: Def. Darien 5-4, Staples 6-1, Trumbull 11-1. Lost to Southington 4-3 in Class LL final. Bottom Line: Ludlowe reached its first state title game. Led by the senior bats of Allie Clark, Caitlyn Romero and Maddy Reyes, Ludlowe won the FCIAC title over St. Joseph and scripted the program's best season. Next year freshman pitcher Alex Lewey and sophomore slugger Chelsea Villar will return to build on Ludlowe's recent success.|
|4. ST. JOSEPH||22-2||374||4||L|
|Latest Results: Def. Bristol Eastern 7-0, Naugatuck 9-0, Ledyard 11-5. Lost to Masuk 2-0 in Class L Championship game. Bottom Line: With Lauren Wasikowski on the mound and Maddy Fitzgerald’s bat, St. Joseph had another strong season despite its youth and inexperience. St. Joseph's two losses were both in championship games, to Ludlowe in the FCIAC final and to Masuk in the Class L final.|
|Latest Results: Def. Montville 7-0, Northwestern 8-3, Ellington 12-1, Granby 4-3, and North Branford 6-0 to win Class M Championship.
Bottom Line: In a rematch of the 2017 Class M final, Seymour once again was victorious over North Branford. Erin Lifrieri tossed a complete game shutout and hit a home run on her way to MVP. For seniors Morgan Teodosio, Alyssa Johnson, Jacey Cosciello and Lifrieri, the memory of falling short to Waterford in 2019 has been wiped away.
|Latest Results: Def. Wheeler 12-0, Thomaston 5-0, Notre Dame-Fairfield 5-2, and Somers 14-2 to win Class S Championship Bottom Line: Coginchaug dominated the class S tournament and earned payback for losing the 2019 final to Somers with a 12-run victory in this year’s title game. Tournament MVP Amalia Demartino was 5-for-5 with a home run in the final and batted .888 (16-for-18) in the tournament.|
|7. EAST HAVEN||19-4||232||NR||L|
|Latest Results: Def. Killingly 6-2, Waterford 1-0. Lost to Masuk 4-0 in Class L semifinals.
Bottom Line: After an early exit in the SCC tournament, East Haven bounced back and made a semifinal appearance in the Class L tournament before being turned away by Masuk. Emilee Bishop threw a complete game extra inning shutout against Waterford in the quarterfinal round, in which Brooke Clancy’s solo home run was all East Haven needed.
|Latest Results: Def. Lyman Hall 10-1. Lost to East Haven 1-0 in Class L quarterfinals.
Bottom Line: The ECC South conference champions' Class L state tournament aspirations were cut short by East Haven in the quarterfinal round. With only four seniors graduating, junior Maddie Burrows and her Waterford teammates will likely be right back in the mix next season.
|Latest Results: Lost to Trumbull 6-4 in Class L first round. Bottom Line: Cheshire suffered a somewhat shocking second-round Class LL exit as the No. 3 seed, losing to No. 14 Trumbull in its first game of the tournament. Despite its early loss, Cheshire did not go home empty handed, having claimed the SCC title behind the efforts of ace Bri Pearson and slugger Trinadey Santiago.|
|10. NORTH BRANFORD||21-3||198||10||M|
|Final Results: Def. Kaynor Tech 15-0, Law 3-1, Woodland 7-2. Lost to Seymour 6-0 in Class M final. Bottom Line: North Branford won the Shoreline championship and made a strong run in the Class M tournament, handing Woodland its first loss 7-2 in the semifinal round. The Thunderbirds fell short in the final to Seymour, but expect North Branford to be competitive again with both pitchers, Kiley Mullins and Bella Hills, returning next season.|
|Dropped Out: Woodland (7), Notre Dame-Fairfield (8), Amity (9).
First-place votes in parentheses and points tabulated on a 30-28-26-24-22-20-18-16-14-12-11-10-9-8-7 basis.
|Others receiving votes: Woodland (23-1), 173; Notre Dame-Fairfield (20-3), 157; Ledyard (18-4), 135; Trumbull (15-6), 116; Somers (21-3), 115; Hall (18-5), 91; Granby (21-2), 67; Amity (18-5), 43; Enfield (20-5), 26.|
|The following voted: Tim Jensen, Patch Media Corp; Vickie Fulkerson, The Day; George DeMaio, WELI; Jimmy Zanor, Norwich Bulletin; Will Aldam, GameTimeCT; Mike Madera, Hearst Connecticut Media; Dave Phillips, Hearst Connecticut Media; Bryan Burdick, NFA; Nick DeLizio, North Branford; Richard Zalusky, Willimantic Chronicle; Ken Pereiras, Seymour; Jeff Babineau, St. Joseph; Terry Dinan, New Canaan; Tony Calcagni, Mercy; Lori Riley, Hartford Courant.
Compiled by Will Aldam