MIDDLETOWN — The Middletown softball team’s attempt to qualify for the postseason will have to wait at least one more game.
Windsor erased a two-run deficit with five runs in the sixth inning, the momentum coming courtesy of an overturned call that went the Warriors’ way, and they hung on to beat the Blue Dragons 7-5 in a CCC softball game Friday night at Lu Gecewicz Field.
Middletown (7-9) was primed for a Class LL tournament-qualifying win thanks to some key hits in the early innings and strong starting pitching from junior Niya Earl, who allowed two runs in the first before shutting down the Warriors (13-2) over the next four.
But Middletown has had similar leads late in a few games this season, only to come out on the losing side of the score.
“I’m very proud of how they battled tonight,” coach Sal Morello said. “They played hard the entire game. It just feels like that one was taken from us, but that’s the way it goes.”
The Dragons were ahead 4-2 when Earl started the sixth by walking Dani Rivera. Hailey Klase grounded to third and was called out at first on a throw by Isabella Spada. Windsor coach Bill Alexander questioned the call, and after a brief meeting between the umpires, Klase was ruled safe.
Morello said he wasn’t given an explanation as to why the out call was changed.
In the end, he said, “You have to give Windsor credit. They came up with the hits when they had to, and got the momentum, but my kids deserved better today and I’ll leave it at that.”
Middletown got a force at second for the first out before Windsor’s offense opened the gates. Emma Capuano hit a run-scoring double to center, Sam Shemanskis doubled in two runs to give Windsor a 5-4 lead, Tori McGraw blooped a single to center for another run and Angela Barresi tripled for a three-run advantage.
Middletown scored in the first inning when Dominique Highsmith singled, stole second and came around on Janelle Franklin’s single.
In the third, the Blue Dragons scored two runs with two outs. Earl singled, Ally Latina walked, pinch runner Khamari Johnson scored on a wild pitch, and Grace DeRita knocked in Latina with a single inside the bag at third.
Middletown extended its lead to 4-2 in the fourth on another RBI single by Franklin.
They’re battling. That’s all I can ask of them,” Morello said. “I said to them, ‘This is going to toughen us up for the tournament for sure.’ We’re a team that can sneak up on something. We’re right there, we know it, we just have to learn how to finish.”
In other games around the area:
H-K 7, Canton 1: Haddam-Killingworth gave Jeff Talbott his 300th win as softball coach, with Brooke LaTouche notching a complete-game victory in Canton.
Freshman Kat McQueeney doubled, tripled and scored two runs for the Cougars (9-6) in their non-conference win. Faith Mauri singled and scored twice.
H-K hosts Old Lyme in a Shoreline Conference game on Monday.
Middletown 12, Bloomfield/Aerospace 0: Logan Wenzel and Ryan Conklin each had two hits and scored two runs and Middletown clinched a berth in the Class LL tournament with its CCC road victory.
Ryan Hurlbert got the win for Middletown (8-8), and relievers Brent Gilson and Conklin finished up.
Ryan Michaud singled and scored twice for the Blue Dragons.
Xavier 7, Sheehan 5: Tyler Lappe and Luke Lappe each had a two-run hit in Xavier’s five-run third inning, which carried the Falcons to victory at Palmer Field.
Brendan Donahue got the win for Xavier (9-7) and Brendan Lenehan pitched the seventh for the save. Drew Kron contributed to the offense with an RBI triple.
Joe Amarone, Caden Cloutier, Evan Wilkinson and Kyle Simmons had run-scoring hits for Sheehan (6-11).
Portland 5, Coginchaug 4: Cole Peterson hit a two-run home run and Portland’s Bryan Dinnis got the win in a Shoreline Conference game in Durham.
Brendan Hickey got the save and Connor Murray had two hits for the league-leading Highlanders (14-2), who went 3-0 this week.
Cole Niedmann and T.J. Isleib had two hits each for Coginchaug (11-6).
Middletown 10, Bristol Eastern 2: Joseph Chiappetta scored five goals and Marshall Alleyne had two to lead the Blue Dragons (6-7) past the winless Lancers in Bristol.
Kyle Dale had a goal and two assists for Middletown. Dylan Reynolds, Matteo Parent and Calvin Ponzio also scored.
Liam Ardito had two assists and Reynolds, Chiappetta and Symion Walden had one each for the Blue Dragons, who finish the regular season Monday at Tolland.