FAIRFIELD — Kylee provided the pitching and Luka provided the power.
The Holderied sisters, Luka, a junior and Kylee, a sophomore, have been critical parts of the Falcons’ softball machine all season long, but never as much as in Tuesday’s opening round of the Class LL tournament against New Canaan.
Kylee pitched a complete-game shutout, allowing just two hits with 11 strikeouts while Luka connected for a clutch RBI double in the fourth as the No. 7 Falcons blanked the No. 26 Rams 2-0 at Sturges Park.
“Luka had a big hit today, it was the sisters, pitching and hitting, it was big,” Ludlowe coach Lou Bonusso said. “Kylee pitching a two-hitter and Luka getting a huge RBI double. No, we never do (give out game balls). It was a spur of the moment thing, why not give them to the sisters, they both had a hand in winning the game.”
Indeed. Ludlowe, which reached the FCIAC semifinals with a roster that includes seven freshmen and nine sophomores, improved to 17-5 and will play No. 10 seed Newtown today at Sturges Park. Newtown defeated Simsbury 6-0.
Facing New Canaan’s ace, Gillian Kane, the Falcons’ were able to scratch a run across in the first as Madeline Reyes walked with one out and went to second on an illegal pitch. Liz Doolan then brought Reyes home with an RBI single.
New Canaan (8-13) had a great chance to break the game open after loading the bases with no outs in the top of the second. But Holderied rallied to strike out the next two batters and have catcher Ira Boci pick off the runner at first to end the inning.
“It happens. Good teams do that,” New Canaan coach Joel Geriak said. “You have to give their pitcher credit, she’s really good. We couldn’t get the hit we needed, got a couple of strikeouts and then a pickoff, that definitely took the winds out of our sails, we had 1-2-3 coming up, with the No. 9 hitter, you just want her to put the bat on the ball and we couldn’t get that.”
Still, the Rams were right there, thanks to Kane, who allowed just four hits, while striking out 13.
“She carried us by herself this year. She’s been tremendous,” Geriak said. “She’s an all-state pitcher, even though she didn’t get that this year, she’s an all-state pitcher. She’s had 200-plus strikeouts this year because she’s that good and she kept this team together because of her.”
A walk to Margaret Nolan in the fourth, led to Luka’s big RBI double to make it 2-0 and from there, Kylee did the rest, striking out four of the last five batters she faced and retiring 17 of the last 18.
“She pitched an excellent game,” Bunosso said. “Her ball was moving a lot and she kept them off-balance with her drop and her curve ball and it was typical Kylee, a workhorse on the mound. She has been our leader all year long. She has pitched great game after game.”
“Actually, I didn’t feel super ‘on’ today, to be honest, I wasn’t throwing super-fast and it didn’t feel like it was one of my better days,” Kylee Holderied said. “I didn’t feel so great, but I went out there knowing that my defense was behind me, they were great today.”
“You always want to get to states. That was the expectation going in, but with so many freshmen and sophomores that had never played varsity … we had two kids returning, that’s it and for these kids to get experience in a playoff game, I’m happy we got this.” — New Canaan coach Joel Geriak
Fairfield police blocked the off-ramp to exit 21 and several places on Mill Plain Road before the game because of “suspicious activity,” according to Ludlowe athletic director Todd Parness. It created some serious traffic nightmares for people that were trying to get to the game.
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
Ludlowe’s sister act of Kylee and Luka Holderied. Kylee tossed a two-hit shutout, Luka got a huge RBI double. Wonder who got the bragging rights at the dinner table?
LUDLOWE 2, NEW CANAAN 0
NEW CANAAN 000 000 0 — 0 2 0
LUDLOWE 100 100 X — 2 4 0
Records: Ludlowe (17-5); New Canaan 8-13
Batteries: L — Kylee Holderied (W) and Ira Boci; NC — Gillian Kane (L) and Emma Schullman
Highlights: NC — Kara Fahey and Mary Haney got the two Rams hits. Kane allowed just four hits and struck out 13. L – Kylee Holderied struck out 11 and retired 17 of the last 18 batters she faced. Liz Doolan and Luka Holderied had RBI hits for the Falcons.