Alyssa Dowd, the tough as nails leader of a young and improving Raiders softball team.
TORRINGTON: Torrington senior Alyssa Dowd has seen it all during her four years as a member of the Raiders softball team.
From the highs of making it all the way to a State Championship game in her sophomore year to the lows of the past two season after graduating nine from that magical team of 2017.
Through it all though, Dowd has maintained.
Maintained through the bumps and bruises of her position, catcher where she has seemingly been fighting off one bruise or another.
On Thursday, before her team fell to a talented Woodland team by an 11-3 final, she took a pitch of the forearm while warming up starter Julia Fritz and later during the game, a foul ball off an unprotected part of her thigh.
Nothing stops this tougher than nails student/athlete though, and I stress both parts because along with being a stellar leader on the softball field, Dowd is also a Scholar Athlete, a remarkable accomplishment considering her hectic schedule that makes the busiest among us feel tired.
After finishing her sophomore season as the backstop on a team that posted a 22-5 overall mark and made one of those memorable runs all the way to the last day of the season to her junior year when her team finished 4-16 and missed the post season.
“Everybody knew it was going to be a rebuilding year or two,” Dowd said. “It was tough coming from that season when we nine seniors, eight of whom started to losing nine seniors.”
Against the Hawks on a beautiful afternoon (finally) at THS, positive signs were all around this unit, one that is learning how to play at the varsity level and one that should start getting better, sooner than later.
Take their hustle.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, down 10-0, the home team was resilient, creating a pair of runs by putting the ball in play and on an aggressive charge to the plate by their senior back stop.
Junior Dana Cisowski led off the inning with a base hit to right, bringing up Dowd who pushed a bunt towards third that was thrown away, allowing Cisowski to score all the way from first and putting Dowd on third.
The ensuing play sums up what Dowd has meant to this team and to this program.
A short, passed ball went perhaps 8 feet behind and to the left of the Woodland catcher but Dowd took off on instinct and slid in safely under the tag with a slide that seemed to start half way up the third base line.
That hustle, in a game her team didn’t stand much of a chance of winning was a terrific example setter for the younger Raiders, who are sprinkled around the diamond.
Around the infield, Marissa Burger plays first and is a freshman. Burger may be the heir apparent to Dowd’s position and went two for three with a booming double to right center in the sixth inning.
Shalyn Neary, a sophomore, plays second and had a good day at the plate with a single and an RBI in the seventh inning.
The only other senior on the infield is short stop Alexa Reynolds who doubled and scored a run Thursday afternoon.
Madison McLaughlin is settling in at third base and is also just a sophomore.
Center fielder Sarah Walton, a junior, is playing a terrific outfield, tracking down nearly everything his in her general direction. She nearly made a magnificent full extension diving catch in the Woodland sixth inning and more impressively, was not happy that she missed it.
Suzy Navin is just a sophomore and playing at a high level in left field and blasted a long double to boot.
In right, senior Macayla Muzzlin is improving by the game, as is most of the team.
Fritz, also a senior, has gotten stronger on the mound as the season has progressed and battled on Thursday against a very potent offense that had lost it’s first game the day before to Seymour by a 3-1 final.
Dowd though, is the leader by pure example and determination and is happy with the effort she sees from her younger teammates.
“I’m really proud of them,” Dowd said. “We have improved a great deal since the start of the season, and I think they will continue to do so.”
The Raiders have 11 games left in the 2019 regular season and that may be how many games Dowd has left in her stellar career.
One thing is for sure though, her hustle and determination will never fade, never go away, long after she hangs up the cleats and moves on to her future.
Dowd is going to college to become involved in Homeland Security, something that should make all of us feel very, very safe.
Woodland 11, Torrington 3
Woodland 303 013 1 11 13 0
Torrington 000 002 1 3 5 2