For six innings there wasn’t much separating Wednesday’s Southern Connecticut Conference Hammonasset Division tilt between Foran and Guilford from the games being played across the state.
Host Guilford broke a 2-2 tie with a two-run fifth inning, leaving the Indians six outs away from a hard-earned but somewhat routine win over the defending division champions. What happened next was hard to believe even for those who were in attendance.
Guilford was one out away from a 4-2 victory when Foran’s Hannah DeSousa took a low changeup and crushed a three-run homer that gave the Lions a 5-4 lead and the chance to come away with an improbable victory in a game in which they had just three of the 12 hits.
“I haven’t seen it myself and I’ve been doing it for quite a while now,” Guilford coach Steve Zajac said. “It was unbelievable.”
The poise and positive vibes displayed by his team certainly impressed Zajac as a home run by Jordyn Goldstein gave the Indians the emotional 7-5 victory.
“Foran was real excited. We were one out away, one pitch away,” Zajac said. “We’ve been leading the whole game and we looked around the dugout like wow, I can’t believe that happened.
“The girls were talking about what they were trying to do, just get singles don’t try to overdo it and just get runners on base. They were upbeat. Coming into the dugout we were trying to tell them that we could do this, we could leave them out in the field.”
Pitcher Amanda King only improved the team’s positive outlook when she tied the game with one-out home run.
The Indians got the winning run on base thanks to a single to right field by Emily Torre to bring up Goldstein.
Goldstein already had a double and a pair of deep fly outs on the day when she put the capper on one unforgettable seventh inning.
“As soon as it hit the bat I threw my hands up in the air,” Zajac said. “It looked so good coming of the bat, you knew it was going over the fence. It was incredible just to watch the girls at home plate jumping up and down and screaming and having a blast. It was amazing to go from the lows of (DeSousa) hitting the three-run homer and hitting the high of two home runs in the inning, it was unbelievable.”
The comeback would be a remarkable achievement if it were accomplished by a senior-laden team with a track record of deep runs in the SCC and state tournaments to their credit.
However, this is a Guilford team that’s 4-2 with one senior — catcher Megan Zumpano — and of the 13 players on the roster posted on the CIAC site, nine are either freshmen or sophomores. None of the current Guilford players have won a postseason game with the Indians.
“They were down about what had happened but they were focused on the next thing,” Zajac said. “I think that is a trait that they have shown so far this year. They had a bad game against Cheshire and came right back the next day and came out swinging in the first inning. They are tough ball players, they are into the game and know with our hitting that we are going to stick around in games and if we have a chance at the end, we could do it. They believe in themselves.
“There is only one senior but we do have eight starters back so age wise it is not an old team but experience-wise, there are a lot of girls who play year-round and a lot of girls who started for us last year and some juniors who have been starting since our freshman year. Even after a low game against Cheshire, the next day they were having a good time working hard. A game like Foran when we won, they come to practice the next day and aren’t resting on their laurels, they are out there working hard. They are good ball players, good kids.”
Thanks to what former Amity High star Katie Koshes is doing at UConn and Seymour High graduate Raeann Geffert’s success at Bucknell, two of the NCAA Division I freshmen pitchers with at least 100 strikeouts and an earned run average under 3.00 are former New Haven area standouts.
Another one is on the way as East Haven native and former Lauralton Hall ace Ireland Miessau signed her national letter of intent with Rhode Island earlier this month.
Miessau was 20-6 with an 0.97 ERA and 245 strikeouts as a senior at Lauralton Hall and is currently is in the midst of a postgraduate year at Deerfield Academy where she has two shutouts to lead Deerfield to a 4-1 start.
Miessau could make an immediate impact for a Rhode Island staff with a 7.20 earned run average and the Rams’ pitchers allow 15.7 base runners per seven innings.
With Cheshire’s Abby Abramson committed to Penn, four members of the Register’s 2016 All-Area softball team will be pitching at the Division I level next season.