TORRINGTON — One year after Connecticut’s last high school softball season was canceled by COVID-19, the 2021 season promised to be unpredictable thanks to youth, inexperience, COVID dropouts and just plain rust.
A 26-8 five-inning mercy rule Torrington win over WCA Monday proved just how glaring that unpredictability can be.
“It wasn’t even a good win for us,” said Torrington coach Sarah Arburr, whose Raiders evened their record at 4-4 after dropping a couple of close games against NVL leaders Naugatuck and Woodland last week.
The loss of a year hit the bottom half of most leagues, including the Northwest Corner’s NVL and Berkshire League, harder than most.
WCA came to Torrington Monday afternoon with a 6-4 record, including five blow-out wins and a quality win over Holy Cross.
“This could be a tester for both of us,” said Spartan coach John O’Toole, with Coach Arburr’s agreement, before the game began.
But instead of the close battle both coaches anticipated, the game became a blowout early with the Raiders striking for 10 runs in the first inning.
Torrington freshman Aubrie Jones started with three Spartans strikeouts on her way to 12 for the game, but a hit batter, passed ball and bloop single by Christine Da Cruz put WCA on the board.
WCA’s nightmare began in the bottom of the inning.
Marissa Burger led off with one of her two doubles in a 3-for-3 day. Jones followed with an RBI double.
Torrington would push across nine more runs in the inning on just two more hits and eight Spartan errors.
“We’ve already made more errors than we have all season,” O’Toole said.
Even with a 10-1 Torrington lead to start the game, both sides suffered.
WCA fielders made four more errors to just one by the Raiders, but the Spartans proved their power by out-hitting the Raiders 11-10, including a triple by Veranni Figuerido and doubles by Xamyia Grubb and Alyssia Carillo.
By the time Torrington pushed across seven more runs in the second inning on just three hits, three Spartan errors and three walks, everyone was ready for the 15-run gap that ends a game after five innings.
Kate Fritz and Brianna Murelli had doubles for Torrington.
For WCA, the crowning blow came when starter Alysha Accetura went down with a shot to an already sore knee.
“The game was ugly,” said Arburr after WCA scored four runs in the fourth inning on four hits and a Torrington error.
“I’d like to play Torrington again on another day,” O’Toole said.
He’s right. This season, a second shot might be just as unpredictable as the first.