STRATFORD, Conn. –
two runs with one out and the tying runs on base in the fifth inning of
the state Class M softball final, St.
Joseph (Trumbull, Conn.)
coach Jeff Babineau did the unthinkable.
He pulled ace senior pitcher Micki
from the game and went to his younger, less-experienced
backup, junior Nikki
The move propelled the Cadets to a championship.
Hall's (Milford, Conn.)
top hitter, the University of
, for the second out and then got Mariel
on a soft liner to second baseman Jenn
Lauralton Hall scored one more run in the sixth and
had two runners on in the seventh, but Cote worked out of both jams as
St. Joseph won the title, 3-2, on June 11, at Stratford’s Deluca Field.
Cadets, seeded seventh in the tournament, were 23-4 this spring.
pitching move was key, as Keltos had been battling an illness during
the postseason. With Keltos’ endurance understandably limited, Cote had
been called into action more often.
“Micki has been a real
teammate during this stretch,” Babineau told the Trumbull Times
was smart enough to come to us and tell her she was run down and to keep
an eye on her. When she began to struggle, she gave me a nod and I saw
“Nikki came in and threw some gas on the corners, although
from the bench I was trying to push the ball another two-miles per hour.
She throws a two-seam fastball and has a very good curve. Lauralton has
a quality program and made both our pitchers work.”
had taken a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning when Vasquez and
Bridgette Bassett started the frame with singles. An infield error on a
bunt led to the first run, and Taryn Figmac then laced a two-run single.
Lauralton Hall scored once in the fifth and had the tying runs on Cote
was called in to take down Collins.
The first pitch was a ball,
but Cote then fired three consecutive strikes to get Collins and quickly
retired Schlaefer for the final out of the fifth.
“I was going
in to throw my hardest,” Cote said. “Getting that first strike was a big
In the sixth inning, Lauralton Hall scored on a single,
an error and a sac fly, but again Cote escaped with the lead.
the seventh, Lauralton put two runners on with one out, but Cote K’d
the next batter and then fielded Becca Napolitano’s hard grounder to the
mound and threw to first baseman Melissa Russell to end the game.
softball championship was the fifth for St. Joseph and the first since
the Cadets repeated in 2006 and 2007. St. Joseph was the runner-up last
spring, falling to Seymour 1-0 in the final.
Lauralton Hall, the
No. 8 seed, finished the year with a record of 20-5 and was the
runner-up in the SWC tournament.Vikings
capture second State championship
After losing to the Trumbull
Golden Eagles in the FCIAC title tilt, the Westhill
Vikings weren’t about to settle for anything less than a
On Saturday, June 12, they accomplished that
Allison Macari hit a two-run single with two outs in
the bottom of the fifth to break a tie and send the Vikings on to the
State Class LL title with a 4-2 victory over the Newtown Nighthawks at
Stratford’s Deluca Field.
It was Westhill softball’s second State
championship, the last coming in 1992. Westhill was also runner-up in
1977, 1991 and 1993.
Ace starting pitcher Jennifer
, a senior right-hander, allowed just one earned run on four
hits, walked none and struck out four en route to the win. She also
retired 18 of the final 20 Nighthawks she faced.
scored twice in the first inning and the score remained tied through
In the decisive fifth inning, Westhill’s Elizabeth
reached base on an error and went to second on a sac bunt by
An infield second put Julianne
on base and she advanced to second on another error.
two runners on and two outs, the sophomore Macari fouled off several
pitches with two strikes before lining a base hit to centerfield,
plating both runners for a 4-2 lead.
In the seventh, Newtown got
its leadoff hitter on, but Joseph retired the next three batters to end
the game. The final out was a fly ball to centerfielder Ali
Westhill finished the season with a record of 26-1,
which included a 20-0 regular season.
Seeded second in the State
tournament, the Vikings rolled to four straight wins, outscoring their
opponents 26-6 along the way. After a first round bye, Westhill beat
FCIAC rival Norwalk, 8-2, in the second round and shut out Bristol
Central, 11-0, to reach the semifinals.
In the semis, Westhill
defeated No. 3 Southington, 3-2, while No. 1 Newton beat No. 5 Simsbury,
Newtown, the SWC champions, also finished the year with a
26-1 record.Dave Stewart, the
Sports Editor of the New Canaan (Conn.) Advertiser, is a MaxPreps.com
writer and photographer. He may be reached at 203-966-9541 or at