Carbone, Thiel and DuBois lead Raiders into quarterfinals in a 4-1 win over Rockville.
TORRINGTON: When a coach has as many quality upperclassmen as Torrington softball head coach Maryanne Mussleman does, a lot of the in-game adjustments happen without her saying a word.
As a result of those corrections, the Raiders are moving on in the Class L State Tournament after beating a tough Rockville team by a 4-1 final.
For their efforts, Torrington gets a second home game, this time on Friday when they will face the number four seed, North Haven on Friday at THS.
North Haven got past Farmington by a 7-4 final on Wednesday.
An eight-day layoff affected the home team as action started, a combination of not playing and a tough right hander named Morgan Bolduk, who the Raiders had some history with earlier this spring.
The two teams squared off in an epic battle while both played in Florida at Wide World of Sports during Disney Spring Training and that one wasn’t decided until the Raiders won it in the bottom of the ninth inning on a fielder’s choice.
Bolduk and the Rams seemed determined to gain a measure of revenge when it mattered most and struck first in their half of the second inning.
Left fielder Shannon Skivington worked out a walk leading of the frame and moved to second on a grounder to Torrington shortstop Lauren Jamieson.
Raider ace Ali DuBois (3 hits, 9 K’s) got Ram center fielder Sara Bernabucci looking for the second out but DuBois was the victim of some bad luck when the next batter, Allison Alleano hit a grounder towards center that hit the second base bag and bounced away, allowing Skivington to come around with the game’s first run.
Meanwhile, Bolduk was not having much trouble getting through the Raiders order the first time, allowing just a second inning single to center by DuBois and a pair of runners in the third on a hit batsman and an error.
The home teams luck would start to change in the bottom of the fourth when the Raiders talked in the dugout about their approach to Bolduk.
“We talked about moving back in the batter’s box a little,” DuBois said. “That way we could see her (Bolduk) pitches for a little longer. She had great movement and it gave us more time.”
Carissa Carbone (1-3, 2 runs scored, 2 RBI’s) reached on a throwing error and landed on second when the throw went past first and out of play.
After DuBois hit a scorching line drive that was snagged by Rams second basemen, Chelsea Chatterton for the first out, Amanda Thiel (2-3, 2 RBI’s), who had been moved up a place in the order on Wednesday, lined a single to right, scoring Carbone who beat the throw home and the game was knotted at one.
Bolduk would work out of trouble in the fourth, allowing just the one run but the fifth inning proved to be her downfall and the Raiders windfall.
Catcher Alyssa Dowd reached on a perfectly placed bunt to start the inning and moved to second on an infield hit by lead-off hitter Alexis Tyrrell. Nina Julian was next and put down a bunt that was mishandled by the Rams and all hands were safe and the bases were loaded for Carbone.
The senior shortstop laced a hard double down the right field line, scoring Dowd and Tyrrell but Julian was cut down trying to score from first.
Every Raider fan in attendance held their collective breath when DuBois took a pitch from Bolduk off her helmet but the senior hurler bounced right up and took first.
Thiel then drove in her second run in two innings by lining a single to center that scored Carbone to make it a 4-1 game.
After the second inning run, DuBois settled into a determined rhythm, allowing just two more base runners, one on an error in the fourth inning, the other on a single in the bottom of the fifth.
Dowd would erase the fourth inning runner by gunning down Christina Ciampa trying to steal third.
DuBois would close things out retiring 11 of the last 12 batters.
How about this self-adjusting team?
“I don’t have to say a word,” Musselman said. “With this group of seniors, they have the ability to talk in the dugout about what needs to happen. It’s a real luxury for me.”
Game time is 4 p.m. on Friday right back at Torrington High School.
Eight teams remain in Class L, including top ranked Pomperaug and number three Masuk.