MIDDLETOWN >> The first inning was the decisive inning.
Berlin scored four times in the first, a rally punctuated by back-to-back home runs by Kelsie Anderson and Katie Guild, and Middletown couldn’t recover as the Redcoats hung on for a key Central Connecticut Conference South softball win, 8-5, at the Moody School Field Wednesday evening.
“It was nice to get off to a good start,” said Berlin coach Jason Pires, who saw his team improve to 15-3 and close to within one win of at least a tie for the CCC South championship. “We’ve been doing that a lot and we knew it was important tonight. Middletown is a very good hitting team and getting that kind of lead gave us wiggle room.”
Middletown got off the deck to score five times, but the early lead — which ballooned to 8-0 in the fourth — was too much and the Blue Dragons were never in the game.
“They hit the ball, we made a couple of errors [actually just one] and it put us in a hole,” Middletown coach Scott Ahlers said. “It was an emotional night on Senior Night and I think it took a couple of innings for us to get focused. They are kids. I thought once we settled down, we played a good game.”
Berlin put pressure on from the beginning. Vanessa Reimer opened with a single and immediately stole second and third. Jackie Arute got her home with a sacrifice fly to left, then the Redcoats unloaded.
Anderson and Guild (3-for-4) smacked home runs, and two singles and an error by first baseman Olivia Sprague handed the winners another run. Before MHS came to bat Berlin had four runs in the bank.
The winners got two more in the second on a two-run single by Guild. The Redcoats built the lead to 8-0 with two more in the fourth on Alyssa Germano’s single and a run-scoring groundout by Niki Patel.
Middletown got one back in the fourth on Maddy Feshler’s RBI single and got another in the fifth on Maddie Landry’s fielder’s choice ground ball to third that scored Brianna DiMartino (2-for-4).
Middletown got three in the seventh on a two-run triple by Kelsey White (3-for-4) and a sacrifice fly by Sam Pizzonia.
“I would hope we would be more consistent throughout the game,” Pires said. “Their pitcher [Feshler] threw a lot of off-speed pitches after the first couple of innings and we didn’t adjust. We’ll work on that in practice tomorrow.”
Julia Lagace went the distance for the win. She scattered eight hits, struck out three and walked none.
Middletown (14-5), saw a modest three-game wining streak come to an end. The Dragons finish their regular season Friday at Hale-Ray of Moodus at 7 p.m. at Lou Milardo Field.