BRISTOL>> Bristol Central softball coach Monica Hayes says she needs a new word for ‘resilient.’
But on Tuesday against Rocky Hill, it might have been the best way to describe her team.
Trailing 7-4 in the ninth, the Rams scored three in the bottom of the inning to tie the game. Then Sarah Strilkauskas blasted an inside-the-park home run in the bottom of the 10th as Bristol Central walked off with an 8-7 win.
“I was thinking that I need to get on base, I was trying to make solid contact with the ball,” Strilkauskas said.
It was the No. 9 hitter’s fifth at-bat vs. Rocky Hill starter Jessica Greenspan. She was 0-for-4 coming into the final plate appearance of the game.
“[Seeing the pitcher multiple times] helped a lot, because the first couple times I didn’t really hit all that well,” Strilkauskas said. “I’m just happy I connected on the last one.”
Bristol Central was two outs away from winning in regulation. But Greenspan hit a game-tying, inside-the-park home run in the top of the seventh to send it to extra innings.
Hayes felt her team shouldn’t have been in that situation after sending nine batters to the plate and scoring four runs in the bottom of the first inning.
“We ran a gambit of emotions,” Hayes said. “We started out pretty hot and then didn’t do much for another eight innings.”
Rocky Hill took a 7-4 lead in the bottom of the ninth when, it too, sent nine batters to the plate. The first two reached and Arianna Genovese drove both in with a double to left centerfield.
Julia Sevigny knocked her in with a single.
“We definitely gave them too many chances and they did a good job capitalizing,” Hayes said. “We gave them too many outs in a couple innings there and we paid for it.”
In the ninth, Bristol Central’s resilience showed.
With two out and runners on first and second, Lindsay Holden drove a triple over the left fielder’s head to score two runs. She later scored on an Alexa Caron single.
“Their pitcher did a great job keeping us off balance, but we came back,” Hayes said. “We keep coming back and that’s a testament to them. They’re the ones that absolutely continue to keep fighting back when they get down.”
Bristol Central starter Alison Holden earned the win. She went all 10 innings and allowed 19 hits while facing 53 batters.
“I thought Ali Holden grinded out a win,” Hayes said. “She was having a tough time hitting some spots at times, but she did an awesome job.”
Rocky Hill: 000 120 103 0 – 7 19 2
Bristol Central: 400 000 003 1 – 8 16 0
(at Bristol Central High School)
WP: Alison Holden; LP: Jessica Greenspan.
Batteries: (RH) – Jessica Greenspan and Arianna Genovese; (BC) – Alison Holden and McKenna Driscoll.
2B: (RH) – Victoria Spellman (2), Arianna Genovese.
3B: (RH) – Julianne Slavin, Riley Pickett; (BC) – Lindsay Holden.
HR: (RH) – Jessica Greenspan; (BC) – Sarah Strilkauskas.
RBI: (RH) – Sophie Kurdziel, Julianne Slavin, Brittany Moore, Jessica Greenspan, Arianna Genovese (2), Julia Sevigny; (BC) – Sam Laviero, Brittany Stancavage (2), Lindsay Holden (2), Alexa Caron, Sarah Strilkauskas.
SB: (RH) – Victoria Spellman; (BC) – Ali Martel.
SAC: (RH) – Julia Sevigny, Kelly Quirion; (BC) – Ali Martel.
Records: Rocky Hill 11-3; Bristol Central 10-5.