TRUMBULL — As the capacity crowd filed out to continue their weekend activities, the classic song ‘Don’t Stop Me Now!’ was blaring from the speakers.
It is as fitting an anthem for the Trumbull softball program as “New York, New York” is after each New York Yankees home triumph.
Trumbull has built a resume of softball success. Chasing titles is the mandate for the Eagles.
To beat a program with championship aspirations, opponents must play a perfect game.
There is no margin for error against these Eagles, who strike like cobras at any opening.
Stamford found this out Saturday. Trumbull scored four resourceful runs in the bottom of the sixth to earn a 7-4 victory in the Class LL quarterfinals at their home field.
The win means No. 2 seed Trumbull (23-2 overall) will battle No. 6 seed Southington in the Class LL semifinals —weather permitting—Monday at 4 p.m. at Stratford’s DeLuca Field. Southington edged No. 19 seed Ridgefield, 3-2 at home Saturday.
“We played our hearts out,” Stamford coach Melissa Giordano said. “But when you play a team like Trumbull, you have to keep them down. They take advantage of any mistake or opening you give them.”
No. 7 seed Stamford, which ended a wonderful season at 19-6 overall, had clawed back from a 3-1 deficit after one inning to grab a 4-3 edge in the top of the sixth.
The Black Knights received solo homers from Amy Covino and Jordan Rossi. And they overcame a horrendous overrule on a play at first base by the out-of-position home plate umpire which cost them another run in the top of the fifth.
But to beat Trumbull—which won the 2017 Class LL title and lost in the 2018 Class LL final— you have to get all 21 outs.
The Eagles used their legs —just one hit to the outfield—while scoring three runs in the first.
Rossi had taken over on the mound for Stamford in the third inning. She received the full treatment as Trumbull batted around in the bottom of the sixth.
A leadoff walk, two stolen bases, three Stamford infield errors, one non-RBI double, one non-advancing fly to center, one run-scoring fielders choice added up to four runs and a 7-4 Eagles edge.
“Trumbull gets down but they find a way,” Stamford coach Giordano said. “Give credit to them. They execute. They take advantage.”
The Eagles have just three seniors on their roster. But they all believe in the standard. They believe that no detail is insignificant.
“Four years ago, the culture and foundation for the Trumbull softball team was set,” Eagles coach Jacqui Sheftz said. “We’re just continuing the tradition of Trumbull softball. We don’t die. We win one game at a time. But we have our eyes on the big prize.”
After losing the 2018 Class LL final to Amity (13-7), and after falling 1-0 to intratown rival St. Joseph in this year’s FCIAC championship, this year’s Class LL crown has deep meaning for Trumbull.
“We have unfinished business. All the players know that. But it’s still a one game at a time journey,” Sheftz said. “Give credit to Stamford. They are well coached. Their seven seniors rose to the occasion at the plate today. This fight will benefit us. Quarterfinal round contests are so hard to win. But our extensive playoff experience gave us an edge.”
Now all attention turns to Southington.
“Our expectations here are so high. We reach them. Then we set them higher,” Sheftz said. “The girls have bought into the ‘Refuse to Lose’ attitude.”