WEST HAVEN >> With a key Southern Connecticut Conference contest against Mercy looming, Lauralton Hall knew it had to take care of business in West Haven first.
Scoring 12 runs in the first inning, the Crusaders, ranked fifth in the GameTimeCT/Register Top 10 poll, defeated West Haven in easy fashion, 21-4, in a game stopped after five innings due to the mercy rule at Biondi Field Thursday afternoon.
The Crusaders, who improved to 6-0, combined 18 hits with five walks to post the easy win. Senior Jaclyn Brewster led the way for Lauralton with four hits, including a 3-run home run, five runs scored and five runs batted in.
“We have been working on our hitting,” Brewster said. “We want to be able to extend our leads. We feed off each other. We know we have to keep going. We scored a lot of runs in the first inning and we knew we had to keep up the intensity.”
The first inning Brewster talked about saw the Crusaders send 16 batters to the plate. Lauralton turned the lineup over, with the first 11 batters reaching base before the first out was made. That out, a sacrifice fly by Lindsey Spitz, still produced a run.
Brewster led off the game with a single to left, Alexa Dawid, who had three hits and three runs scored in the game, followed with a double and both scored on a triple to right by Spitz.
Kaitlyn Mingione delivered Spitz with a single, before Mingione scored on a single by pitcher Ireland Miessau. A single by Erin McCann, a double by Brewster and a single by Alexandra Moleski all produced runs in the opening inning.
“We have gotten off to slow starts,” West Haven coach Joe Morrell said after his team fell to 3-5. “We gave up five runs to Mercy in the first, five to Sacred Heart and now twelve today to Lauralton in the first.
“That can’t happen. We are giving up too many hits early in the game. We have to turn that around. We need to get off to better starts.”
West Haven answered in the bottom of the first when Julia Bothwell walked with the bases loaded to force home Kial Watts who had led off with a double.
Each team traded runs in the second, before Lauralton broke the game open further with five more runs in the third. Moleski singled to score Christiana Cottrell who had tripled with one out, before Brewster ripped a laser over the fence in right for an 18-2 lead.
“We have a strong team,” Lauralton coach Amanda Acampora said. “We did some things wrong today. We have to keep working on our defense. We want to play as a unit. We want to put the ball in play and we have to make the plays. We still had some miscues out there today.”
The Crusaders added three more runs in the fifth, before West Haven tried to keep the game going with a rally in the bottom of the inning. Jolie Morrell’s two-run single was not enough as the game ended after five innings of play.
“I was happy with the way we kept battling,” Joe Morrell said. “I told the girls not to be concerned with the score. We wanted to play hard and have good at bats. I thought we did.”
Moleski and Miessau each had three hits and two runs scored, with Moleski driving in three and Miessau knocking in two runs.
Kial Watts led the Westies with three hits and two runs scored, while Morrell had two hits and drove in three runs.