MIDDLETOWN >> The Middletown softball team has been flying under the radar this season. But after rapping 19 hits — including a grand slam homer from sophomore Alex Giardina — against Bristol Central on Friday, those days may be over.
The Blue Dragons captured their ninth win in 11 games with an impressive 15-3 Central Connecticut Conference victory over the Rams at Hank Hiller Field.
Middletown (12-4) swung the bats early and often, grabbing a 3-0 lead in the first inning, and never looked back.
“It was a great team effort today,” Blue Dragons coach Scott Ahlers said. “Our first rally was with two out and we brought in three runs and that was key to get up on a team like this. Every time they’d answer we’d put a couple more on the board so that was great.”
The Rams (10-6) closed the gap to 3-2 in the third but Middletown countered with three in the fourth on back-to-back doubles from senior Kayla Brown and Giardina, and a booming triple from sophomore Sam Pizzonia.
Winning pitcher Maddy Feshler struggled early while battling a broken fingernail. The senior, however, shook it off and allowed just one run on four hits over the final four innings.
“She was right on the money,” Ahlers added.
Allie Holden, who suffered the pitching loss, went 3-for-3, Sam Laviero went 2-for-4 with an RBI triple, and Lindsay Holden and Brittany Stancavage each had two hits and an RBI for Bristol Central.
Middletown, which edged the Rams 6-5 in eight innings back on April 27, is quietly moving up the Class LL rankings. Along with their offensive fireworks on Friday, the Blue Dragons also showed they can play some defense. Giardina saved a run in the first inning with a diving catch at short, while third baseman Kelsey White made a terrific back hand play on a hard grounder for the third out in the fourth.
“We’re good hitters but now we’re starting to put the defense together, playing as a team and really communicating on the field,” said Ahlers, now in his sixth season. “That is what they’ve had to learn this year and our four seniors have helped lead that and brought it all together for us.”
Ahlers was referring to seniors Maddie Landry, Olivia Sprague, Brown and Feshler.
“This year is one of the best year’s that we’ve really bonded and that’s why our chemistry is so good,” said Landry, the Blue Dragons catcher who will play at Central Connecticut State next season. “If someone makes an error we are picking each other up and we’re coming together. If the other team comes up with two runs we’ll get them right back because we support each other and are ready to go.”
Middletown’s other five starters are all sophomores: Giardina, who had a grand slam, three runs scored and six RBIs against Bristol Central; Kayla Pieta, who went 3-for-4; Brianna DiMartino, who went 4-for-4; Pizzonia, who was 3-for-3 with two RBIs; and White, who had two hits, including a two-run single that capped a four-run fifth inning that gave the Blue Dragons a 10-3 advantage.
“The sophomores have grown quickly and are doing a super job for us,” Ahlers added. “We’re doing well and are very pleased.”
Middletown hosts RHAM on Saturday at 10:00 a.m.