NEW HAVEN >> After Hopkins defeated Hotchkiss on Wednesday, the focus quickly shifted to the Hilltoppers’ highly anticipated contest with rival Hamden Hall.
For Hopkins senior pitcher Sabrina Falcigno, it would be her final start against the Hornets. So, the end result was especially rewarding for Falcigno. Falcigno allowed just three hits, no walks and she struck out 11 to lead the Hilltoppers to a 6-1 prep school victory Friday.
“We were very excited to play Hamden Hall,” Falcigno said. “It’s always been a great game against Hamden Hall.”
Last season, Falcigno took a no-hitter into the seventh inning against the Hornets in a 6-0 Hopkins win.
“That was a great game, and we just wanted to follow up that one with a good one here,” Falcigno said. “We most definitely did. We played with our hearts always, and we’re just like one big family. It was a great way to end my Hamden Hall rivalry.”
Falcigno also scored the game’s first run. After drawing a two-out walk in the bottom of the first inning, Falcigno went to third on an error and then was driven home on Claire Yin’s single.
“Sabrina was fabulous,” Hopkins coach Cindy Chase said. “I knew from the second we walked outside that she was going to do a great job. She was so into it from the entire week, just looking ahead. She has a lot of friends at Hamden Hall, and that just helped elevate her game. She threw fabulously; she was just great.”
Hopkins (5-6) clung to that 1-0 lead until the fifth when Lindsay Blake hit a two-run single to give the Hilltoppers and Falcigno, some breathing room.
“This was definitely a building year for our team so, when we get up and get more runs, it’s definitely comforting to know I have some leeway,” Falcigno said.
Said Chase: “She (Blake) has done that before in clutch times. She knew what she had to do. It was just great.”
Hopkins added three runs in the sixth, highlighted by Sara Chung’s RBI single. The other two runs were scored on an error and a fielder’s choice.
Katie Daily, Taylor Manfredi and Priscilla Kozdroy had the only hits for the Hornets (4-8). Kozdroy walked and scored on an error in the seventh inning. Despite managing just three hits, Hamden Hall was not without its chances. The Hornets left six runners on base, including four stranded at third.
“That (leaving runners on base) has been an issue all year,” Hamden Hall coach Monica Lyons said. “We’re a young team, a lot of freshman, a lot of people who haven’t played competitively before. We’re working on getting them to play competitively. We’re really trying to build a foundation.”