TORRINGTON >> Torrington pitcher Sydney Matzko pitched her 1,000th career strikeout in a 3-0 win over a tough Naugatuck softball team Tuesday afternoon at Torrington High School.
In a season in which Matzko has given up just 13 hits, the Greyhounds’ three is a significant achievement against the 12-0 defending NVL champion Raiders.
Holding the Raiders to single-digit scoring is another. Just two other teams (St. Paul and Seymour) have done it this year.
“One thing we can take away,” said Naugatuck coach Kevin Wesche. “Defensively, we can stay with them. All their bats have come alive.”
Torrington hammered out eight hits Tuesday. Naugatuck senior pitcher Jenna Miller and her defense stranded six Red Raider runners.
Still, it’s an uphill battle against the Raiders.
Naugatuck senior Gillian Fortier got two of the three Naugatuck hits — both doubles.
Matzko, a senior headed to the University of North Carolina, struck out 14 others on her way to the 1,000-K milestone.
This year’s Raiders hit a ton. When that doesn’t work, they find a way to score while Matzko holds the opposition down.
If it’s possible, the Raiders are sometimes too aggressive on the base paths.
After an inning and a half in which Fortier hit her first double and Matzko already had five strikeouts, Torrington got on the board in the bottom of the second with singles by Sam Pelow and Brittany Young.
But one run is never enough for Torrington this year when more could get home.
After Pelow’s second-inning hit, Alexis Tyrrell was hit by a pitch and Sarah Heath walked. With two outs, Young grounded a single through the left side. Pelow flew around third base with Tyrrell right behind her.
A perfect throw home by Jackie Aronin to met Tyrrell at home.
In the third inning, Brittany Anderson (2-for-3) bombed a triple to right center field; an infield error and a steal put Marissa Morris (1-for-3, run) on second, one out. Naugatuck’s Miller kept them there with her only strikeout of the day and an inning-ending pop-up.
In the fourth, still leading by just a run, the Raiders went for the sure thing.
With one out, Sara Heath laced a triple down the left field line. Next up, Alexa Potter dropped a fly into short left field for Heath’s dash home, 2-0.
Coming into the game needing 11 more strikeouts for 1,000, Matzko’s countdown was in full flight by the top of the fifth inning — first batter, 998; second batter, 999; third batter, 1,000.
“It feels great to accomplish something so big,” she grinned. “I’ve been working at it for a while.”
The Red Raiders celebrated with more aggressive base-running in the bottom of the inning.
Anderson singled, then hit second on a passed ball.
Morris followed with a hit up the middle.
Anderson barrelled around third. Another good Naugatuck relay caught her in a rundown at home.
Morris, churning around the bases, slid into third just ahead of a throw back to the bag following the tag at home.
The throw was wild; Morris bounced up and made it home, 3-0.
Sometimes, when you can’t get two, it’s great to get one.
Fortier’s doubles went into the books in the first and fourth innings; Matzko popped her up in the sixth along with another strikeout.
Greyhound Sandra Dinis beat out a bunt in the seventh.
Matzko’s strikeout total stood 1,003 and counting.
So far, she and the Raiders have given up just three runs this season, two of them earned, in nine shutouts.
Matzko has five no-hitters, including one perfect game.
In 75 innings, she’s struck out 163 batters and walked just two.
“At the end of the season, when they represent the NVL in states, we’ll be cheering,” said Coach Weschle.
Torrington 3, Naugatuck 0
At Torrington High School
Naugatuck 000 000 0—0 3 2
Torrington 010 110 x—3 8 1
WP: Sydney Matzko. LP: Jenna Miller. 3B: T—Brittany Anderson; Sara Heath. 2B: N—Gillian Fortier 2.
Records: Naugatuck 7-3; Torrington 12-0.