WEST HAVEN >> Amity sophomore Katie Koshes is a student of the game. Her smarts are a big reason the Spartans will now be playing in their 11th Southern Connecticut Conference final.
Working the corners and keeping Law off balance, Koshes pitched a two-hit gem as the No. 3-seeded Spartans defeated the seventh-seeded Eagles 1-0 in the SCC semifinals Thursday evening at Biondi Field.
Amity, seeking its first conference title since 2008, will play the winner of tonight’s other semifinal between Mercy and Hand on Saturday at 6 p.m. at Biondi.
“Katie threw a fantastic game,” Amity coach Loren Purcell said. “She was all around the plate. She threw inside and outside. She really kept them off balance.”
Law’s best chances to get on the scoreboard came in the first and sixth innings, but Koshes turned up the intensity each time. After Law’s Gege Romero walked and Jenna Bernard singled with one out in the first, Koshes struck out Amanda Leone and Danielle Gray to end the threat, two of her eight strikeouts on the day.
“Katie did a great job,” Law coach Melanie Paolini said after her team fell to 15-7. “She kept us off balance. She lives on the outside corner. We knew that. She made some good pitches.”
Koshes was most impressive in the sixth. After Bernard reached on a two-out error, Leone battled Koshes, fouling off multiple pitches before hitting a line drive back toward the cirle, which Koshes caught to end the inning.
“I was working the corners,” said Koshes, who walked only two. “I tried to work on their weaknesses. If they fouled one off inside, I would go outside.”
Amity, which improved to 18-4 with its sixth straight victory, scored the only run it would need in the first inning off Bernard. With one out, Koshes tripled to left and scored on Jenna DiLorenzo’s two-out single to left.
“This is really cool to be a part of,” Koshes said.
Bernard struck out eight and allowed seven hits and two walks. The first-inning run was all she allowed despite Amity having runners on base in every inning but the fourth.
The Law ace struck out the final two batters in the second with one on and escaped a two-on, two-out situation in the third by striking out Janaya Young. Bernard received defensive help in the fifth as Steph Cameron’s diving catch in center field with one out and two on was turned into an inning-ending double play.
“I thought we played great,” Paolini said. “Our defense played great. Jenna Bernard pitched a great game. We did the job on defense.”
Koshes retired eight in a row until there were two outs in the sixth, then retired the final four batters to seal the shutout.
“Jenna DiLorenzo getting that run home in the first inning was very important,” Purcell said. “I was surprised we did not get any extras in. Our defense held its own and that was big for us.
“This means everything to us. It is what we work all season for. It is for the postseason. The postseason is what we are about. We are excited about it.”
Koshes and DiLorenzo each finished with two hits for the Spartans.
AMITY 1, LAW 0
(at West Haven)
Law 000 000 0 — 0 2 1
Amity 100 000 X — 1 7 1
Jenna Bernard and Amanda Leone; Katie Koshes and Janaya Young.
WP: Katie Koshes (). LP: Jenna Bernard (). 3B: (AM) Katie Koshes. RBI: Jenna DiLorenzo (AM);
Team records: Law 15-7; Amity 18-4.
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