HIGGANUM >> Coginchaug’s recent stretch of one win in their last six games featured an array of mental and physical errors. It was a turn of events that seemed even more perplexing after an 11-0 start.
But the Blue Devils showed a renewed focus in a 4-1 victory against Shoreline Conference defending champions Haddam-Killingworth on Wednesday.
“I’m pleased,” said Coginchaug coach Ann Moscovics. “We needed this one bad. This is a big booster.”
Sophomore pitcher Gabby Diaz allowed just three hits and junior Naomi Rinaldo keyed a four-run fifth inning with a bases loaded single as the Blue Devils improved to 13-5.
Coginchaug defeated the Cougars, 2-1, on April 25.
“It’s typically a 2-1, 1-0 game (with them) and it looked like that today,” said H-K coach Jeff Talbott, now in his 16th season.
Both Diaz and H-K senior pitcher Ciara Samuel had each given up just one hit through the first innings.
“Ciara’s had a good year,” Talbott added. “She has come a long way. It was just one of those days we just didn’t get the breaks.”
Natalie Labasi, Kiara Casanova and Katelyn Williams opened the fifth with base hits. Williams (2-for-2) reached on a perfect bunt to load the bases and the Blue Devils broke the tie when Labasi slid home just ahead of an infield throw on Taylor Marino’s grounder.
With one out and the bases still loaded, Rinaldo lined a two-run single to centerfield to give the Blue Devils a 3-0 cushion.
“Everybody was hitting,” said Moscovics. “We had some nice solid hits that got through whereas in our last few games we were hitting it right at them. So they were bound to fall though.”
Courtney Votto’s RBI groundout made it 4-0.
The Cougars (12-5) spoiled Diaz’s shutout bid in the sixth when Lauren McCann was hit by a pitch and Casey Jackson drilled an RBI double to the fence in center.
But Diaz (four strikeouts, no walks) finished strong to earn her 12th win of the season.
“The one inning when they got their four runs we made just a couple of bad judgements in the infield,” said Talbott. “A one or two run inning you can come back from but four runs is very tough against that pitcher because she is very good. You’ve got to come to play everyday and getting one run just didn’t get it done.”