A Game of Regrets for Torrington Softball Team... Story by John Torsiello.
In several confusing moments it all came crashing down Friday afternoon for the Torrington High School softball team. An undefeated season, a possible state championship, and all the elation that came from being the regular season and tournament Naugatuck Valley League champs….gone.
Bunnell, from the South-West Conference and ranked 16th with 13 wins entering the Class L state tournament second round contest, scored an unearned run in the top of the sixth inning to go ahead, 2-1, and then hung on to hand the top-seeded Raiders a stunning loss on a hot and humid day at THS.
The Bulldogs, who were coming off a 1-0 win over Sacred Heart Academy in a first round game, now play Foran in a quarterfinal contest Saturday at Foran. Torrington, which had a first round bye, finishes with a 23-1 mark.
“We didn’t deserve to win,” said a visibly disappointed THS head coach Maryann Musselman, as her team walked off the field, some with tears in the eyes. “We were flat, and with our attitude and lack of intensity it was not going to be in the cards today. A lot of times sports is about will not skill and we didn’t have the will today, and that upsets me.”
Star junior pitcher Sydney Matzko agreed with her coach’s assessment of the somber situation.
“We didn’t want it and they (Bunnell) took advantage of that. We stood by and watched it happen.”
The lefty was her usual superb self, allowing just five hits, while fanning 11 batters and walking none. But the Raiders hurt themselves with some bad base running, too many uninspired at bats, and a crucial lapse in their usually solid defense.
Torrington scored its run in the bottom of the third when sophomore Brittany Anderson tripled to centerfield and scored on a single by Nicole Jamieson. But a potential more productive inning was stymied when Jamieson was caught stealing. Sophomore Marissa Morris was then hit by a pitch and Matzko singled to put runners on first and second with two outs. But Bulldog pitcher Kyla Pataki got the third out to end the threat. Oh, what might have been.
Bunnell tied the game, played before a crowd of around 150 fans, when Michaela Roman tripled home Pataki, who had singled with one out in the top of the fourth.
The pivotal inning was the top of the sixth and it was a wild sequence of events that led to the visitors’ winning tally.
I seemed harmless enough. Matzko fanned Lauryn Kostopoulos, Lora Walsh singled to center, and the THS southpaw K’d Pataki for the second out. But then disaster struck. Chelsea Rossomando singled to center but the ball was mishandled. Walsh, who got up off the dirt after lying for several seconds near the second base bag to where she had gone on Rossomando’s hit, finally ran to third and the throw from the outfield was high and wild, which gave the Bulldog home and Bunnell its second, and winning, run.
“We knew Sydney is a great pitcher and we had to try and get to her early,” said Pataki, who was drenched with water from a bucket of aqua dumped on her by her exultant teammates following their win. “I don’t think we ever dreamed we were going to make it this far.”
Pataki said she tried to keep Torrington hitters off balance with an assortment of pitches.
“I knew their one through five hitters are very solid and I tried to keep the ball low and away and throw off speed stuff to keep them off balance. I guess it worked.”
Indeed, Torrington managed only four hits, none after the third inning. Pataki fanned seven batters.
The Raiders seemed to have something in the works when Matzko walked and pinch runner Alyssa Pickard stole second. But the Pickard came off the bag in a move toward third and was caught for the second out. Torrington went quietly after that.
“Does it diminish what we accomplished this year?” said Matzko, responding to a question with a question. “We did so well. We went undefeated during the regular season, won the NVL tournament, won 23 games, so we did a lot of great things. But this was a game of regrets.”
Added Musselman, “We had a great season and one bad game.”
And that bad game couldn’t have come at a worse time for a very talented bunch of Raiders.
Bunnell l00 001 0 2 5 1
Torrington 001 000 0 1 4 1
Kyla Pataki and Kelly Scofield; Sydney Matzko and Marissa Morris. WP: Pataki. LP: Matzko. 3B: Brittany Anderson (T), Michaela Roman (B).