FAIRFIELD — Ludlowe’s Maddy Reyes stepped up to the plate knowing her team needed a hit.
The Falcons had the bases loaded and were down two runs to St. Joseph in the top of the fifth inning in Thursday’s FCIAC softball final at Sacred Heart University. Ludlowe’s only blemish on its season had come from St. Joseph back in April.
The senior captain swung at the first pitch, connecting for a monster three-run triple, giving Ludlowe the lead for good in an eventual 6-3 win for the Falcons first-ever league title.
“We came in, knowing we’re the underdogs and that was our fuel this entire game, like everyone wants the underdog to win,” said Reyes, who will play collegiately at Southern Connecticut next year. “I just feel like, especially in the dugout, we felt that energy and that’s really why we won because we knew that we needed to win and we could win.”
Reyes’ triple on top of a two-run home run from freshman pitcher Alex Lewey an inning later sealed the win for Ludlowe (20-1) over top-seeded St. Joseph (19-1).
History is made. Fairfield Ludlowe wins the school’s first-ever FCIAC championship title after beating St. Joseph, 6-3. Ludlowe awaits its placement in the state tournament bracket. #ctsb pic.twitter.com/41xB8S3o2Z
— Maggie Vanoni (@maggie_vanoni) May 27, 2021
Ludlowe started Thursday’s championship with a run from Allie Clark in the top of the first following a passed ball.
St. Joseph tied the game in the bottom of the third with an RBI from pitcher Lauren Wasikowski before gaining a 3-1 lead an inning later thanks to a two-run home run from Claire Gardella.
However, after Wasikowski allowed back-to-back hits and a walk to open the fifth, the bases were loaded, setting the stage for Reyes’ heroics.
“I just felt their energy in my hit,” Reyes said of her team. “Like honestly, that hit was them, like everything that was coming to this moment right then.”
With St. Joseph unable to respond in the bottom half of the fifth inning, all eyes turned back to Ludlowe. In a 10-pitch at bat, Lewey smacked a two-run home run of her own to give the Falcons the extra cushion heading into the final inning.
“That at-bat was one of the best at-bats I’ve seen all year,” Ludlowe coach Lou Bunosso said. “It’s a real special time for us. It’s just the second time we’re in the finals, I didn’t know that until yesterday because it was before my time, but I had a feeling it was a special group from Day 1 and it’s an incredible feeling to bring the first championship home to the high school.”
St. Joseph was led in the circle by Wasikowski, who is committed to Hofstra, through 61/3 innings before being relieved by Brooke Buzzeo. Wasikowski finished with three strikeouts while allowing five hits and four walks.
“(They’re) an excellent team, excellent hitting team and they do the fundamentals well,” St. Joseph coach Jeff Babineau said. “You’re gonna get a game like this. Somebody is going to get a break either way or a big hit is just gonna happen and it did. It happened, just unfortunate it wasn’t on our side. … (Lauren) gave up five hits to an excellent hitting team, so I give her a ton of credit. You’re not going to no-hit them.”
Lewey led Ludlowe through four innings, allowing five hits before being relieved by Anna Gedacht for the final three innings.
The Falcons and Cadets will find out their placement in the CIAC tournament’s Friday at noon.