TORRINGTON >> Faced with a Watertown softball team poised for a challenge, defending NVL champion Torrington turned in one of its best overall performances of the season in an 11-0 smackdown at Torrington High School Friday afternoon.
Torrington pitcher Sydney Matzko had an All-State performance on the mound — 1 hit, 15 strikeouts, two walks.
The Red Raider offense pounded 12 hits, including home runs by freshman Alexis Tyrrell, junior Brittany Anderson and seniors Matzko and Sara Heath.
And, with the exception of a late-inning error in the outfield, the Torrington defense was flawless.
“I didn’t expect (the big score), but, when your whole lineup is hitting and your defense is playing great, you control the game,” said Torrington coach Maryann Musselman. “This team (8-0) deserves it because they’ve worked hard for three years. Our teamwork and communication is huge.”
The Indians are a deceiving 5-4.
Before Friday’s loss, Watertown lost big (11-0) to non-league defending Class L champion Masuk. Then they took NVL powers Seymour and Woodland to nine-innings before losing by a run each time (4-3; 1-0).
“We played scared against Masuk,” said Watertown coach Keith Borkowski.
The Indians came to Torrington without their starting shortstop.
“We’re very young. Coming in, we knew we had some defensive issues,” Borkowski said.
Still, Watertown batters established their credentials in the top of the first.
Freshman Jackie Baldoni and junior Kailyn Biello grounded out. Senior Sara Selimovski drew a walk. Junior Ali Butwill grounded out.
Why is that good?
Because Torrington fans are used to a parade of strikeouts from beginning to end; any contact with Matzko’s pitches is good contact.
“They had better batters (than we’ve been seeing),” said Matzko. “I used all my pitches.”
“You have to have discipline against her,” said Coach Borkowski. “You can’t chase her up and you’ve got to chase her fastball down, early in the count.”
The first inning was good for both defenses.
Then things turned normal for Torrington.
Matzko struck out all three batters in the top of the second inning.
With two outs in the bottom half, Torrington’s Heath and Tyrrell started the Raider bats cranking with a single and two-run homer.
From then on, Matzko strikeouts and good Raider defense fueled the top of every inning; Torrington bats smoked in the bottom.
Fifteen strikeouts left only a few opportunities for offense or defense: Watertown’s Baldoni hit a single up the middle in the third inning; Torrington’s Sam Pelow made a nice play at shortstop in the fourth; Indian Madison Kay drew a walk in the sixth, followed by a Baldoni sacrifice bunt; Torrington’s Tyrrell started the seventh with a great play at third; Watertown’s Abby Collier was on with an error in the Torrington outfield in the seventh.
Otherwise, every at-bat was a K.
Matzko and her defense were in control
So was Torrington’s offense.
“This is the closest we’ve been in four years,” said Heath. “We know, if one of us doesn’t succeed, the next person in the order is going to push us back up.”
Almost everybody succeeded Friday.
“As a whole team, we’re so much better at hitting than last year,” said Anderson.
Up 2-0 in the third, Brittany Young led off with a walk; Nikki Jamieson (3-for-4, double, RBI, 2 runs) singled; Matzko (3-for-4, home run, 2 triples, 4 RBI, 2 runs) tripled them in. Pelow singled pinch runner Aunchlee Reilly home.
Leading 5-0 in the fifth, Anderson (2-for-4, home run, triple, 2 RBI, 2 runs) led off with a triple; Matzko homered her in; Heath rounded the bases with a solo homer, 8-0.
Young started with a one-out walk in the sixth; Jamieson doubled her home; Anderson homered for the game’s last two runs, 11-0.
“We’re going to get better,” said Watertown Coach Borkowski.
Torrington might get better, too, but, Friday, it was hard to imagine.
Torrington 11, Watertown 0
At Torrington High School
Watertown 000 000 0—0 1 2
Torrington 0 23 033 x—11 12 1
WP: Sydney Matzko. LP: Ali Butwill. HR: T—Brittany Anderson; Matzko; Sara Heath; Alexis Tyrrell. 3B: T—Anderson; Matzko 2. 2B: T—Nikki Jamieson.
Records: Watertown 5-4 (5-3 NVL); Torrington 8-0.