TORRINGTON >> Torrington softball pitcher Ali DuBois and North Haven’s Lauren Card battled for five innings with four hits between them before the Red Raiders scored in the bottom of the sixth inning for a 2-0 Class L state quarterfinal win Friday afternoon at Torrington High School.
The win was a touch of revenge for Torrington’s nine seniors — especially DuBois — who lost a 1-0 quarterfinal game in the top of the seventh inning two years ago in DuBois’s first year as Torrington’s starter.
On Friday, DuBois brought it all, allowing just two hits and no walks with 13 strikeouts, including 10 of 12 batters in one stretch between the second through fifth innings.
“My rise ball was working,” grinned the Division I Boston University recruit.
“We knew it was going to be a struggle. She’s the best pitcher we’ve seen all year,” said North Haven Coach Sally Maher.
Still, Card (1 earned run, 2 strikeouts, 0 walks), a sophomore who took over the Indians’ starting spot last year at mid-season, had similar success for five innings, relying on her defense. Torrington’s Carissa Carbone (2-for-3, RBI) and DuBois (2-for-3, double) each singled in the first inning. For five innings, nothing else got through the infield except a no-harm double by DuBois in the fourth.
By the top of the sixth, with the threat of extra innings, a troublesome index finger began to bother DuBois.
“Let’s slam the door on them, then,” said Torrington Coach Maryann Musselman.
Sophomore Alyssa Dowd, ninth in the batting order, came up first in the bottom of the inning — the same spot she had Wednesday when she slapped a key hit in Torrington’s win over No. 13 Rockville.
Friday, she slapped a bunt into short left field for another leadoff hit.
Alexis Tyrrell was up next after grounding out in her first two at-bats.
“We had to stay in the middle of the batter’s box against (Card’s) drop ball,” she said.
This time, she slammed a double down the third-base line, sending Dowd to third. Dowd scored on an infield error off Nina Julian’s bat, still no outs.
Carbone then smashed a grounder through the left side of the infield, scoring Tyrrell for the inning’s second run.
“You learn a pitcher’s movement and her delivery,” said Carbone in her third look at Card.
Nevertheless, a glance at history said this one wasn’t over until the top of the seventh inning was done.
“Before the game, everybody was talking about how well they hit,” said Musselman.
Seventh-inning leadoff batter Caitlin Ranciato proved the point, nailing a line drive single up the middle for North Haven’s second hit of the game. Sarah Lombardi, with the Indians’ first hit in the second inning, hit a shot even harder — right to Torrington center fielder Taylor Rogers.
This time, DuBois made sure history didn’t repeat. Two more strikeouts ended the game.
“Our team was playing the game they love with the kids they love. Ali showed what kind of pitcher she is,” said Musselman.
The No. 4 Red Raiders (20-4) play their second straight semifinal game Monday or Tuesday at a time and place to be announced. They face No. 1 Pomperaug (20-2), the team they beat in last year’s quarterfinals.
TORRINGTON 2, NORTH HAVEN 0
North Haven 000 000 0 — 0 2 1
Torrington 000 002 X — 2 6 2
Lauren Card and Gigi Russo; Ali DuBois and Alissa Dowd. WP: Ali Dubois (20-3). LP: Lauren Card (17-5).
Comments: 2B- Torrington-DuBois ; Torrington – DuBois threw a 2 hitter, 13 strike outs, no walks, 2-3 at plate, CC Carbone 2-3.