TORRINGTON >> Woodland senior softball pitcher Samantha Lee kept the top half of this year’s vaunted Torrington lineup quiet Wednesday afternoon.
So the bottom half pounced for all the runs in a 4-0 Red Raider win at Torrington High School.
Alexis Tyrrell, No. 6 in the Torrington batting order, was 3-for-3, with a double and two runs scored.
Alexa Potter, No. 8, was 3-for-3 with a double, two RBI and two runs scored.
Brittany Young, No. 9, had two RBI.
“The bottom of the order came through,” smiled Torrington coach Maryann Musselman. “(Lee) is one of the better pitchers we’ve faced.”
“She pitched a (change-up) at least twice every time,” said Potter, a senior.
“You have to be aware,” said Tyrrell, a freshman.
Facing a team from the top half of the league for the second straight day, the defending NVL champion Raiders (13-0) relished the challenge.
“It’s better competition,” said premiere pitcher Sydney Matzko.
The All-State senior gave up three hits for the second straight day, in addition to an almost-unheard-of walk (her third of the season).
A Division I University of North Carolina freshman next fall, Matzko coped just fine.
She struck out 14 Hawks and escaped what for her is a jam, with runners on first and second, in the sixth inning.
“We battled at bat,” said Woodland coach Loren Luddy, amazed at the number of Matzko strikeouts. “We prepared for her high pitch, her rise ball. She’s a masterful pitcher, just masterful.”
Woodland’s Lee and her defense also had their moments.
Matzko showed her stuff with two strikeouts in the top of a one-two-three first inning.
The bottom half was the game’s first adventure.
Torrington leadoff batter Nikki Jamieson reached on an infield error. Brittany Anderson bunted her to second. Marissa Morris singled up the middle.
For the second straight day, Torrington’s aggressive base runners faced off against strong-armed outfielders.
This time, a throw home on Morris’s single held Jamieson on third.
The next batter popped foul to first baseman Brianna Pacileo, who fired to third before Jamieson got back to the base, double play.
A stone in the infield gave Woodland’s Cameron Caswell a bad-hop hit in the top of the second.
In the bottom, Torrington’s lower lineup went to work.
With one out, Tyrrell doubled to right center field.
With two outs, Potter dropped a fly into short right field; Tyrrell raced home, sliding wide of the tag at the plate.
Potter was on second with the throw.
Young drilled her home with a line drive single to left, 2-0.
Matzko struck out the side in the top of the third.
Torrington loaded the bases in the bottom with an infield error, a Matzko single on Lee’s changeup and an infield hit by Tyrrell.
Lee ended it with a two-out comebacker to the mound.
Hawk Natalie Veneri got a hit, along with two more Matzko K’s in the fourth for Torrington; Woodland turned a second double play on a Potter hit and another pop to Pacileo.
The pitchers faced three batters apiece in the fifth.
The batters challenged them in the sixth.
Veneri waited out a full-count for a walk with two outs; Lee worked another full count, then singled up the middle.
A grounder to second ended the threat.
“Their pitcher had a very good off-speed pitch,” said Coach Musselman. “I was pleased that, by the end of the game, we sat back and waited for it.”
In the sixth inning, Torrington’s final at-bat, Tyrrell began with a ground single through the left side. Sara Heath threaded the same needle. Potter doubled to left.
Tyrrell scored; another good Woodland throw caught Heath at the plate.
Potter, in a standard feature of Torrington base running, moved up to third on the throw — easy pickings for another Young RBI on a grounder to second.
An out often leads to a Torrington run in the Raider culture of hustle.
“We’ve got each other’s backs,” smiled Matzko.
Torrington 4, Woodland 0
At Torrington High School
Woodland 000 000 0—0 3 3
Torrington 020 002 x—4 10 0
WP: Sydney Matzko. LP: Samantha Lee. 2B: T—Alexa Potter.
Records: Woodland 11-3; Torrington 13-0.