TRUMBULL — Just before the game, Ludlowe coach Lou Bunosso gathered his team around in the dugout and asked them if they knew what a “signature win” was.
Based on the low murmurs of uncertainty, it was pretty obvious they didn’t.
But they do now.
Thanks to a complete game performance from junior pitcher Kylee Holderied, a second-inning game-tying solo home run from freshman shortstop Allie Clark and an RBI single from freshman Caitlyn Romero in the fifth, Ludlowe grabbed that signature win with a 4-3 decision over St. Joseph Monday afternoon at the Cadets field.
“That was a signature win, against one of the better teams in the state and one of the best teams in our league, so I couldn’t be happier,” Bunosso said after the game. “Playing here, on their home field and taking a one-run win, it’s a wonderful thing.”
More importantly, the victory gave Ludlowe any potential FCIAC tie-breakers against the Cadets for the upcoming playoffs. The Falcons moved to 10-1 in league play, just behind undefeated Trumbull (11-0) and are now 12-3 overall. St. Joseph dropped to 9-2 in the FCIAC and 11-4 overall.
“It’s a great thing for the program,” Bunosso said. “A great thing.”
While it might have been great for Ludlowe, St. Joseph coach Jeff Babineau was admittedly unhappy with his team’s play.
“We didn’t execute,” Babineau said. “That was the problem. When you can’t move runners over, when you can’t bunt, you’re not going to win. That was the problem.”
Ludlowe took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first on a double from freshman Madeline Reyes and an RBI single from Romero. However, St. Joseph immediately answered in the bottom of the first when Hannah Hutchinson scored on a fielder’s choice to tie the game. In the second, the Cadets took a 2-1 lead as Allie Petronchak walked and came around to score on an RBI single from Madison Fitzgerald — who went 3 for 4 with three singles.
In the top of the third, Ludlowe tied the game when Clark took Cadets starter Catherine Connell deep over the fence in left center for a solo home run for 2-2. That was enough for Babineau, who brought in Payton Doiron in relief.
“The catcher came out and told me it just wasn’t there,” Babineau said. “And that’s what the catcher is supposed to do and the other girl (Doiron) came in a did a pretty good job.”
In the fifth, Ludlowe scrapped together two runs to take a 4-2 lead as Clark singled and scored on a grounder and Reyes walked and scored on a Romero RBI single.
An RBI single in the fifth from Cami Heintz got St. Joseph within 4-3, but Holderied struck out two batters in the sixth and got three ground outs in the seventh to capture the victory.
“Kylee has been working really hard on her off-speed pitch, so we’ve been mixing that in at the end,” Bunosso said. “We had been going hard, hard, hard pretty much the whole game and started putting together a combination of curve balls and drop balls and when she started going off speed, she started getting them off balance. That did the job.”
And after the brief, but excited celebration, it’s a safe bet to think that the Falcons now know what a signature win means.
“This was pretty special today,” Holderied said. “It wasn’t really expected of us, it hasn’t been all season, but we somehow keep pulling things off. This is a good way to keep building on this season’s success. We’ve been coming together as a team and that’s very important.”
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Ludlowe freshman shortstop Allie Clark. She hit a game-tying solo home run in the third and singled and scored the go-ahead run in the fifth. She scored twice and also was hit by a pitch, reaching base three times.
“Our freshmen have been great this year. They have a great future ahead of them. Everyone’s been doing well and the only reason why I’m pitching like I am is because they’re all out there behind me.” — Ludlowe pitcher Kylee Holderied
The public address announcer at St. Joseph called the Fairfield Ludlowe batters, the “Roger Ludlowe” throughout the entire first inning until corrected.
LUDLOWE 4, ST. JOSEPH 3
LUDLOWE 101 020 0 — 4 9 0
ST. JOSEPH 110 010 0 — 3 9 0
Records: L (12-3, 10-1 FCIAC); SJ (11-4, 9-2 FCIAC)
Batteries: Ludlowe — Kylee Holderied (W, 12-3) and Ira Boci; SJ — Catherine Connell, Payton Doiron (L) and Charlee Horton. Highlights: L — Allie Clark had two hits, including a solo home run and scored twice. Madeline Reyes had two hits and scored twice. Caitlyn Romero had two hits and two RBI. SJ — Madison Fitzgerald went 3 for 4 and had an RBI. Cami Heintz had two hits and scored a run.