TORRINGTON >> Torrington’s softball team came through with a 1-0 win against Wolcott Wednesday afternoon in just the kind of game they’re likely to see in the postseason.
The Red Raiders (11-4) beat Wolcott 8-3 a few weeks ago at Wolcott High School. Wednesday’s version of the Eagles (6-8) was much improved.
In a game with just five total hits (4-1 Torrington), the Eagles mounted two serious threats before the Raiders finally cracked a great Wolcott defense.
“We’re hit or miss,” said Wolcott Coach Lisa Belval. “We’re a really young team (three freshmen and five sophomores in the starting lineup) and we’ve been moving people around to see where they fit best. Today, we had people in the right places.”
While Torrington pitcher Ali Dubois (7 innings, 1 hit, 13 strikeouts, 1 hit batter) worked her magic on the mound, striking out eight of the first nine batters she faced, the Raiders often made solid contact with Nicole Antonowicz’s pitches, only to discover Antonowicz (6 innings, 1 earned run, 4 hits, 3 strikeouts, 2 walks) or her defense had it covered.
In the first inning, Nina Julian (2-for-3) found a hole in the right side of the infield for a single, gunned down at second trying for the extra base thanks to a heads-up play by right fielder Nicole Ward.
In the second inning, after the first of two walks to Dubois, pinch runner Nina Lestrud got caught in a missed hit-and-run bunt attempt thanks to a perfect throw to second by catcher Alayna Greene.
Torrington’s Carissa Carbone lined a two-out hit to right. An Eagle outfielder ended the inning under another well-hit Torrington fly.
Meanwhile, Wolcott leadoff batter Marissa Morales lined the Eagles’ only hit down the third base line in the top of the fourth, got to second on a ground-out and third on a wild pitch.
Dubois ended it with a strikeout.
“Heart palpitations,” she laughed.
Dubois had reason for more palpitations in the top of the fifth. Ward led off with a grounder, reaching first on the game’s only error.
Dubois hit the next batter, freshman Sarah Hughes.
A ground-out to third advanced the runners to second and third, one out.
“(The Raiders) stayed composed and they played smart,” said Torrington Coach Marianne Musselman.
With two runners in scoring position, Dubois threw a strikeout for the second out and fielded a pop-up for the third.
In the bottom of the inning, Amanda Thiel drove a rocket toward the left-center field gap with “home run” in its flight plan – until sophomore left fielder Jayda Cavanaugh loped back for the one-handed grab, making a great catch look not only easy but graceful.
Nevertheless, the Raiders were in it step for step.
In the top of the sixth, third baseman Carbone let a wildly spinning pop-up bunt hit the ground before grabbing it with a sure hand for the throw to first.
Two more Torrington outs went to the Wolcott defense in the bottom of the sixth.
“We were trying to do too much,” said Musselman after one more fly ball sailed into Cavanaugh’s glove in left field.
With two outs, Nina Julian and Lauren Jamieson were next in the Raider order.
“We were trying to keep it away from left field,” said Julian.
“We were trying to find somewhere else,” said Jamieson.
They found it in right field.
Julian stroked a line drive to short right for a single.
Jamieson whaled a drive to right center.
Ward dove for it and missed, the ball bouncing past her for a double while Julian raced in for the run.
“They stayed within themselves,” said Musselman.
That’s a relative term.
Dubois, staying within herself, threw three final strikeouts in the top of the seventh to seal the game.
Torrington 1, Wolcott 0
At Torrington High School
Wolcott 000 000 0 – 0 1 0
Torrington 000 001 X – 1 4 1
WP: Ali Dubois. LP: Nicole Antoniwicz. 2B: T – Lauren Jamieson.
Records: Wolcott 6-8; Torrington 11-4.