TRUMBULL — Trumbull’s softball team had a tough draw when the second-seeded Eagles were matched with No. 15 Amity in the second round of the Class LL state tournament on Thursday.
Trumbull advanced with a 7-2 win, but to do so had to out battle the Lady Spartans, who while young are still a program-team capable of great things.
“They pressured us in the first inning,” Trumbull coach Jacqui Sheftz said of her team’s 2-0 deficit. “I’m proud of my team’s ability to dig down deep and to not lose focus at the task at hand.”
Trumbull put up a six spot in the bottom of the third inning.
“In the third I thought we executed to perfection,” Sheftz said. “The bottom of the batting order did its job and got us to the top of the lineup. I thought once we got the first hit that we could take off. We really executed our bunts today.”
Jenna Duffy drew the first walk off Amity’s Kelly Pritchard and Ava Dunn put down a bunt to move her into scoring position. The first hit that Sheftz thought crucial did not come easy.
Pritchard, a right-handed sophomore, and the Eagles’ Julia Huzi went back and forth before Huzi took the eighth pitch she saw into right field to score Duffy.
Maggie Coffin bunted her way aboard, before Kenzie Bruggeman slugged an RBI single to knot the game at 2 all.
Huzi scored on a wild pitch and then Alexa Adinolfi’s squeeze bunt made it 4-2.
With two outs, Kiley Barbagallo dropped a single into left field to plate two more.
Amity (14-8), which had advanced with a 1-0 win over New Britain, kept challenging.
“We put our bats on the ball,” Amity coach Sara Hale said. “We just needed to string more hits together (9 runners stranded). We are very young and we’ll take this and go with it.”
Elizabeth Brownfield led off the game with a base hit off Bruggeman, who started the game. An infield error allowed Rachael Crow to reach first, and on the same play, Brownfield’s slide knocked the ball free and she was safe at third.
Emily Gell came on in relief and got the second out on a comebacker, but Pritchard singled to right for a 1-0 lead. Another infield error brought home run number two. Trumbull catcher Cassie Barbato picked a runner off second to end the inning.
Gell pitched out of trouble the rest of the way. Two more errors in the third put the right-handed junior in a jam but she kept runners on the corners. In the fourth, a walk and an infield hit by Olivia Greco gave Amity hope. Gell ended the inning with one of five strikeouts.
Trumbull took its big lead in the home third and tacked on a run in the fourth.
Huzi tripled with one out and scored on Coffin’s well-placed squeeze bunt.
Amity saw Greco (infield) and Leia Foyer single to no avail in the sixth.
Brownfield doubled to dead center to open the seventh. Julia Zito singled. Marissa Dwyer added a base hit with one down to load the bases, but Gell got the next two outs.
Trumbull (23-2) will play No. 7 Stamford (18-4) in the quarterfinals at home on Saturday at 4 p.m. The Black Knights defeated No. 10 Fairfield Warde, 8-3, in the second round on Thursday.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Trumbull’s Maggie Coffin. The senior had two of her team’s eight hits, made a fine play in right field, and showed off her bunting skills to drive in a run.
“I thought once we got the first hit that we could take off. We really executed our bunts today.” — Trumbull coach Jacqui Sheftz