TORRINGTON >> Torrington’s softball team (15-4) pulled out a wild 9-6 win over Woodland (9-10) Tuesday in a game in which nothing was safe.
“It was such a combination of things,” said winning pitcher Ali Dubois (7 innings, 5 earned runs, 10 hits, 11 strikeouts, 1 walk). “My riser was moving more than I’ve ever seen it, but I couldn’t control it; then I’d put one right down the middle. Or if I didn’t, something would happen in the field.”
“We were ready to play,” said Woodland Coach Loren Luddy. “Playing Coginchaug (Monday) was a good prep for this game.”
Coginchaug is 15-2 in the Shoreline Conference. Though the Blue Devil pitcher didn’t quite match Dubois’ movement, the 4-3 loss gave the Hawks confidence against superior pitching – especially in an off day for Dubois.
Dubois’ relative wildness — and Woodland’s confidence — began in the top of the first inning.
Leadoff hitter Carla Piccolo (2 runs) drew a walk, reached second on a ground-out, third on a wild pitch and home on a sac fly by Cameron Caswell (2-for-3, 2 RBI, run).
If it was an off day for Dubois on the mound, her bat in Torrington’s cleanup spot more than made up for it.
In the bottom of the first, Alexis Tyrrell (2-for-3, double, RBI, 2 runs) led off with a hit, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, third on a fly-out and home on the first of two triples by Dubois (4-for-4, 3 RBI).
Taylor Rogers (3-for-4, double, 4 RBI) was almost as hot at bat as Dubois, following with an RBI single.
Normally, a 2-1 lead is safe with Dubois, one of the state’s best pitchers.
Tuesday was different.
The second inning began with a Torrington error. Samantha Buzgo turned the error into the tying run on a fielder’s choice that came up empty and a ground-out by Rita Plante.
Torrington bats went back to work.
With two outs in the bottom of the second, a walk to Tyrrell, hits by Nina Julian and Dubois (RBI), an error and a 2-run double by Rogers, jacked the Red Raider lead back to 6-2.
“I was dropping my shoulder,” said Rogers. “I’ve been working on it.”
Another Raider run in the third raised the illusion of a safe lead to 7-2 when Amanda Thiel (2-for-3, triple) led off with a single and scored on a triple by Tyrrell.
The illusion lasted one more inning.
In the top of the fifth, Woodland’s Jen Triana (2-for-3) lined a one-out double, followed by a bunt single by Piccolo. Torrington third baseman Carissa Carbone got pinch runner Lindsey Gabianelli at home on a fielder’s choice, but, with two outs, Woodland hits kept coming.
Caswell knocked in one run. Samantha White (3-for-4, run) loaded the bases. Emily Brouillette sent two more Hawks home with the fifth Woodland hit of the inning.
“In today’s game, I think I gave up more hits than I have for the rest of the year combined,” said Dubois.
Tuesday, with a 7-5 lead, the Raiders needed more runs.
In the bottom of the sixth, Julian drew a one-out walk. Lauren Jamieson (2 runs), Dubois and Rogers followed with hits for two runs.
Safe at 9-5? Not this game.
Woodland had one more chance, in the top of the seventh, almost taking it to the bank.
Caswell started with a triple to deep center field that woulda-coulda been a home run except for a great relay from Torrington center fielder Ashley Dowd to shortstop Jamieson and home to catcher Cierra McGowan for the out.
White followed with a single.
A wild pitch moved her to second.
A called third strike was out number two.
A slow infield grounder seemed a sure game-ender.
Instead, a normally-sure-handed Raider infielder lost the grip, Hawks on first and third.
Maddie Hupprich ripped an RBI double to right center field.
Then, normalcy made its first appearance.
Dubois, corralling her riser, struck out the final batter in three pitches.
“At the end of the year, all the teams we played before (Torrington beat the Hawks 10-0 at Woodland) play better,” said Torrington Coach Marianne Musselman.
“It’s good for us to have games like this where we’re under pressure.”
The Raiders go to St. Paul Catholic Thursday, then host Watertown in the NVL Tournament first round Friday at 3 p.m.
Woodland goes to Seymour Saturday after playing at Hamden today.
Torrington 9, Woodland 6
At Torrington High School
Woodland 110 030 1 – 6 10 2
Torrington 241 002 X – 9 13 3
WP: Ali Dubois. LP: Jen Triana. 3B: W – Cameron Caswell. T – Alexis Tyrrell; Dubois 2; Amanda Thiel. 2B: W – Maddie Hupprich; Triana. T – Taylor Rogers.
Records: Woodland 9-10; Torrington 15-4.