FAIRFIELD — St. Joseph’s Payton Doiron could be excused for not being aware of how dominant her no-hit pitching performance was when the No 1-seeded Cadets defeated cross-town rival and No. 2 seed Trumbull, 1-0, in the FCIAC championship game at Sacred Heart University on Friday.
Afterall, Doiron had walked the bases loaded in the first inning. She got out of that jam, and then let her defense help retire 19 consecutive batters.
“I got it out of my system, stayed confident, and relied on my defense,” said Doiron, a right-handed junior. “I like to think one batter at a time and try not to get to ahead of myself. That kept me distracted (from thinking about the no-no). The defense always has my back.”
This was the second-consecutive FCIAC championship for the Cadets and the fifth title in six years. St. Joseph finished 19-0 in FCIAC play. Coach Jeff Babineau’s squad will take the No. 1 seed and a 23-0 record into the CIAC Class L state tournament.
Trumbull went 17-2 in the FCIAC and 21-2 overall. Coach Jacqui Sheftz’ Eagles are seeded No. 2 in Class LL.
The Cadets broke through in an unexpected fashion in the bottom of the second inning.
Brittany Mairano lined a drive up the gap that eluded the dive of Alexa Adinolfi in right-center field. Claire Gardella drove in her sophomore classmate with a double to the same spot. Doiron and company had everything they needed.
— Bill Bloxsom (@blox354) May 24, 2019
“Brittany and Claire from the bottom of the batting order swung big bats,” Babineau said. “To get one past Alexa in center field …well, it was so hit hard. It needed to be because she is a phenominal fielder. She stole hits away the first time we played them (a 2-1 extra-inning win) and again today.”
St. Joseph shortstop Maddie Fitzgerald came up with the defensive gem of the game with one out in the sixth.
The Eagles’ Maggie Coffin choked up on her bat and used a butcher boy swing to loft a liner toward left field. Fitzgerald’s great first step put her in position to make the catch with her back toward home plate. She held on while falling face first into the turf at Pioneer Park.
— Bill Bloxsom (@blox354) May 24, 2019
Doiron jumped into the the air and tapped her glove repeatedly after the putout.
Trumbull saw an opportunity go by the board in the first.
Julia Huzi walked on a 3-2 pitch to open the game. A popped up sacrifice bunt attempt was followed by an infield pop out. But, Cassie Barbato and Charlee Horton each drew walks on 3-1 counts. Doiron recovered and recorded the first of her five strikeouts.
“We had the bats in our hands first and that was a great opportunity,” Sheftz said. “We had trouble hitting the ball on the ground and we had 11 flyouts. That’s Payton doing her job. It was a great defensive game by both teams.”
St. Joe’s Kiley Barbagallo roamed behind first base to glove Adinolfi’s bid for a base hit in the fourth. The Cadets’ Paige Hunter got a good jump and caught Jenna Duffy’s fly ball behind shorstop in the fifth.
St. Joseph stranded runners in every inning except the fourth and sixth because Trumbull right-hander Kenzie Bruggeman got the key outs. She struck out four, walked one, and scattered four hits after the second inning.
Horton had two hits. Alyssa Noce, Mairano and Gardella had one each.
Doiron took care of the last out when she gloved Kiley Barbagallo’s comebacker and made the short toss to Cadet captain Kaitlin Capobianco.
“After the first inning, I talked with Payton and told her to let the game come to her,” Babineau said. “She settled in nicely. Our defense did its job and that let her pitch stress free.”
PLAYER OF THE GAME
St. Joseph’s Payton Doiron pitched a no-hitter and struck out four. That she walked three batters in the first inning and escaped unscathed against a top-ranked team like Trumbull was remarkable.
“I like to think one batter at a time and try not to get to ahead of myself. That kept me distracted (from thinking about the no-no). The defense always has my back.” — Doiron