Lauralton Hall lost its first two games, and three of its first six, to start the season.
“I think it was the new coaching staff,” said first-year coach Amanda Acampora. “Even though I’ve been with them five years (as an assistant), it’s just different. It was more of them trusting the preparation. It took them awhile to buy into it and trust it.”
The Crusaders, though, haven’t lost since. Lauralton Hall has won nine in a row since losing a 2-1 decision to Masuk on April 17. The streak began with a victory over Hand two days later. During the steak, the Crusaders earned a 1-0 win in the rematch against Masuk, and then Lauralton Hall knocked off Oxford 2-0.
“In the first Masuk game, we just wanted to keep it close,” Acampora said. “We wanted to try to show the kids that they can hang with some of the best teams in the state. I think they’re starting to believe that they can compete for some championships down the line.”
Junior pitched Haley Congdon allowed just one hit and struck out seven in the win against Masuk and then gave up just two hits and struck out 12 in the victory over Oxford.
“Haley has been on fire,” Acampora said.
Acampora added that Congdon improved tremendously in her mental approach to the game.
“In the (win over Masuk), the leadoff batter reached in five of the seven innings,” Acampora said. “But she buckled down to get us out of there.”
Entering the season, Acampora wasn’t exactly sure who would emerge as the team’s starting pitcher. Congdon and sophomore Kaitlin Mingione each saw action last season, and then sophomore Ireland Miessau transferred over from East Haven.
“We knew what was coming in,” Acampora said, “and Kaitlin threw very well at the end of last season. I didn’t know who would be our No. 1. I expected them to battle it out and see how it unfolded.”
Offensively, Lauralton hall has been led by senior shortstop Maureen Connolly, junior center fielder Alexa Dawid, junior first baseman Jackie Brewster and junior third baseman Lindsay Spitz.
The Crusaders move up from Class M to the very competitive Class L this season. Still, Lauralton Hall expects to vie for the state championship.
“We knew how good we could be,” Acampora said. “But I don’t think anybody else thought we would be this good. We hope to compete for the SWC and Class L titles. It’s very tough in Class L; we have our work cut out for us.”