SEYMOUR >> Chelsea Avila hasn’t been able to play in the field all season due to an ankle injury, but she let her bat do the talking Friday night.
The Seymour junior laced a single to center field to drive in the winning run as 4th-seeded Seymour rallied to score two runs with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning to beat 5th-seeded Granby 2-1 in the quarterfinals of the CIAC Class M softball tournament.
The Wildcats (24-2) will meet 17th-seeded St. Joseph in the semifinals either Monday or Tuesday night at a site and time to be determined. St. Joseph ousted Watertown 11-5 Friday afternoon.
“It was the most stressful situation,” Avila said after her single scored Shari Minalga with the winning run. “All I was thinking was make contact with the ball, make sure it touches the grass, take deep breaths and get the job done.”
Seymour had struggled all night to get runs across the plate. After the Wildcats stranded runners on second and third in both the fifth and sixth inning off Granby righthander Kari Marks, they finally came through in their last at-bat.
Molly Adamo reached to lead off the bottom of the seventh when Granby shortstop Shelby Smith let a pop up fall in the infield. A wild pitch moved Adamo to second and two outs later, Minalga delivered a double off the wall in center field that easily tied the game at 1-1.
“I was just ecstatic,” Minalga said. “This is my last at bat on this field after four years. I wanted to finish it and get the job done.”
Beca Findley followed by getting hit by the first pitch from Marks and then Avila worked the count to 3-2 before Avila came up with the game-winner.
“Avila comes through she’s been out half the season with the ankle injury,” Seymour coach Ken Pereiras said. “She’s still not moving really well, but her bat is really solid.”
Granby scored its lone run in the opening inning when Smith doubled with one out and came around to score on a single to right by Anna-Marie Groskritz. The Bears left runners in scoring position four times, but Seymour pitcher Jenna Geffert minimized the damage and didn’t allow another run.
“That’s a heartbreaker for these kids who put the time and effort in all year,” Granby coach Brian McDermott said. “That’s a great team over there and it’s unfortunate. Hats off to them.”
It is the fourth consecutive season defending champion Seymour has reached the semifinals of the Class M tournament. The Wildcats won the title in both 2014 and 2016. Ironically, the Wildcats fell to St. Joseph in the semifinals in 2015.
“There’s no doubt this was toughest one,” Pereiras said. “Their pitcher was great and I thought we were in trouble the way she was throwing.”
SEYMOUR 2, GRANBY 1
Granby 100 000 0 — 1 6 1
Seymour 000 000 2 — 2 7 2
Kari Marks and Erin Henebry.; Jenna Geffert and Kolby Sirowich. WP: Jenna Geffert. LP: Kari Marks. 2B: (GRNB) Shelby Smith (2), Madeleine McGee; (SE) Shari Minalga. RBI: Groskritz (GRNB); Chelsea Avila, Shari Minalga (SE);
Team records: Granby 19-4; Seymour 24-2.