Though the season just reached its midway point, the showdown between then No. 3 St. Joseph and No. 4 Cheshire had all the makings of a classic postseason encounter. With both teams featuring excellent pitching and stellar defensive plays, the Cadets came through in the clutch to earn the win.
That clutch hit came early as No. 2 hitter Madison Fitzgerald crushed a homer in the first inning en route to the 3-0 win, keeping St. Joseph undefeated.
Ace Payton Doiron stole the show with her three-hitter, something she’s done all year. Through 11 games she owns a 9-0 record with a 0.75 ERA. In 56 innings, she has 90 strikeouts against 13 walks.
“We were just all really excited with the atmosphere here,” said Doiron. “Everyone was mentally hyped and prepared. … Cheshire is a really good team and we did well against them.”
The one-two punch of Kaitlin Capobianco and Fitzgerald did all the damage at the top of the order against the Rams, and have done so against most opponents. Both are hitting .500 or better and have combined for 20 extra base hits.
St. Joseph coach Jeff Babineau was unsure of how his team would fare against the top teams in the state, but the first test was passed with flying colors. The Cadets were challenged on Saturday by Stamford, but managed to come away with a 9-inning victory.
Two more top 10 tests await next week with Trumbull (Tuesday) and Masuk (Saturday). The Cadets moved into the No. 2 spot in the latest GameTimeCT Top 10 Poll.
“It was a great softball game, you had two great teams,” said Cadets coach Jeff Babineau. “You have (two top five teams) and they want to see you battle. I think we came to play, which is awesome.”
Class L appeared to be a two-horse race between Masuk and St. Joseph heading into the season, but that has changed in a hurry. North Haven has jumped into the top five along, while Bristol Eastern has emerged as a legitimate threat.
The Lancers — who beat Southington on April 9 — scored another big win last week as they rallied past defending Class LL champion Amity.
Junior ace Erin Girard was an All-State selection as a freshman and sophomore, and held off a strong Spartans lineup Tuesday. Battery mate Paige McLoughlin is the lone senior starter.
“(Girard) is tough,” Lancers coach Scott Redman said. “She can throw multiple pitches; when she can locate them and keep kids off balance. This is the first year I’ve ever handed off pitch calling off to Paige because she can handle it. She’s doing a phenomenal job.”
Eastern suffered its first loss Thursday against South Windsor as Girard was on the wrong side of a pitchers’ duel against South Windsor’s Maria Hanchuk. With three of their more difficult games out of the way and an 8-1 record to show for it, hopes are high for a run in states.
“We return eight starters from last year so although we only have one senior starter we have experience,” Redman said. “We’ve set some challenging goals for ourselves for sure. We’ve fared pretty well; hopefully the kids are starting to realize they can be a good team.”
Seymour experienced the highs and lows in one pressure-packed week. The Wildcats survived nine hits from Woodland but held on for a 3-1 win before losing 4-3 to St. Paul and suffering their first league loss.
Against previously unbeaten Woodland, Seymour rallied from a 1-0 deficit with two runs in the sixth and one in the seventh.
St. Paul claimed the big win against the Wildcats on Thursday as it rallied from a 3-1 deficit. After freshman Ava Hampton had the game-tying hit, she came around to score from second during the next at-bat as a throw to third on a steal attempt went to the outfield. Abby Poirot — who collected her 100th career hit — finished off the compete game.
Notre Dame-Fairfield has put up several eye-popping numbers with an incredibly young team. A win over Immaculate Thursday pushed the Lancers’ record to 8-0 before a loss to Griswold on Saturday.
There are few words for what sophomore MacQuarrie Stone-Folmar has accomplished so far. Through eight games she’s batting .750 with 12 home runs, 39 RBIs and 24 runs scored. Teammate Tiffany Suporn, a freshman, is hitting .720 with 21 RBIs and 18 hits. Breana Brown — who has pitched so far this year — is hitting .680 with 18 runs scored. The Lancers are outscoring opposing teams 147-6 in 2019.
After a relatively simple schedule to start the season, the Lancers’ competition will pick up shortly. Masuk awaits next week while SWC hopefuls Barlow and Brookfield follow.