WINSTED >> A hitter’s wind favored the Northwestern softball team’s deep lineup in an 8-2 victory over Wamogo Tuesday afternoon at Northwestern High School.
The win pushed the Highlanders into a head-to-head tie with the Warriors for first place in the Berkshire League.
Wamogo (7-2 overall, 6-1 BL), which came in undefeated at the top of the league, grabbed a 2-0 lead in the top of the third inning. Northwestern (8-2 overall, 8-1 BL), which had moved into second place after a split with Nonnewaug, caught the wind for four runs in the bottom of the inning.
The Highlanders kept up the pressure with contributions up and down the lineup against Wamogo ace Cyrena Zematis. The Warriors, meanwhile, got just a single hit below the top four in their order.
“They are a very good team. They hit the ball well,” said Wamogo coach Dave Sylvester, who’s seen his team batter lesser opponents by a combined 79-8, including three shutouts, prior to its clash with Northwestern. “(Zematis) didn’t have her best day, but they earned every one of their runs.”
“(Zemaitis) has a lot of pitches,” Northwestern coach Stacey Zematis said. “I told them to lay off her riser, but we still watched a lot of strikes.”
Despite nine strikeouts against the Warrior senior, Northwestern batters had 11 hits, including home runs by sophomore Molly Hale (2-for-4, 3 RBI) and senior Katie Wald, who was batting ninth in the Highlander order. “We don’t really have three sure outs in our batting order,” coach Zematis said.
On Tuesday, after the top of the Wamogo order rocked Northwestern starter Kate Matava for two runs in the third, she settled down and allowed just two more hits through the top of the sixth before leaving the game with a rolled ankle.
Freshman Jana Sanden came to the mound from third base with a 6-2 lead and the game suddenly in her hands. She struck out the final two batters of the inning to escape trouble.
“I started pitching when I was young, then left it, but I’ve been coming back to it lately,” Sanden said. “I’ve got a changeup, fastball and a curve and I’m working on a riser.”
After a comebacker to the mound in the top of the seventh, Wamogo’s Cassidy Wilson grounded a single up the middle. Sanden got a strikeout for the second out. A walk and an error loaded the bases.
A grounder to Sydney Sanden at second base ended the game.
Meanwhile, the Highlander lineup kept playing the wind. Marissa Swartley scored two runs. Sydney Sanden was 3-for-4 with a double, an RBI and runs. Gina Weingart went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run.
Wald’s home run went over the right field fence in the fourth inning. Hale’s home run came in the fifth.
Swartley and Sydney Sanden scored the final two Northwestern runs in the sixth on a leadoff walk, Sanden’s double and a groundout by Weingart.
For Wamogo, Danielle Maliszewski had a triple an RBI and a run scored, Cyrena Zemaitis was 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI, and Savannah Wheeler had a double.
Northwestern 8, Wamogo 2
At Northwestern High School
Wamogo 002 000 0 – 2 7 1
Northwestern 004 112 x – 8 11 1
WP: Kate Matava. LP: Cyrena Zemaitis. HR: NW – Molly Hale; Katie Wald. 3B: W – Danielle Maliszewski. 2B: W – Zemaitis; Savannah Wheeler. NW – Sydney Sanden.
Records: Wamogo 7-2 overall; 6-1 Berkshire League; Northwestern 8-2 overall; 8-1 Berkshire League.