Raider softball moves on to semi's in NVL's. Holy Cross on deck.
TORRINGTON: Getting through the first round of the Naugatuck Valley League Tournament has never really been an issue for the Torrington softball team.
The pattern continued on Saturday as the Raiders rolled over the Naugatuck Greyhounds by a 12-1 final behind a two-hit, 11-strikeout effort from junior Ali Dubois and four runs scored by fellow junior Alexis Tyrrell.
It’s what happens next that presents the challenge. Getting past the two teams who handed them three of their four regular season defeats.
At this time of the year, right before State Tournament time, the physical aspect of the game is replaced by the mental aspect of the game.
How do you get by teams that are either on your level or a little above?
“We have to be mentally strong and believe that we can do it,” Dubois said. “We can’t go into big games already thinking that we can’t win. We need to be up and into it and cheering.”
In their meetings with the two teams ahead of them, Holy Cross once and Seymour twice, the Raiders stayed with the Crusaders but fell 2-1 way back on April 8 at home but were not able to break through against Raeanna Geffert and the Wildcats in two tries (4-0 and 6-0 losses).
Torrington has won 11 straight since Geffert did what she does in shutting down just about any team that stands in their way.
The Raiders will get the Crusaders on Monday in the 4 p.m. game at Naugatuck High School, site of the semi’s and finals this year.
Offensively, the Raiders have been clicking, they pounded out 14 hits on Saturday against two Greyhound pitchers.
It was small ball to start and long ball to finish in this one.
The Raiders first four runs were manufactured with three batted balls that never left the infield, a pair never reached the mound but still they jumped out to the lead.
Torrington scored in every frame but the sixth, pushing across three in the second, third and fifth innings.
Tyrrell had scored three times on three hits over the first three inning and stole three bases as well.
Lauren Jamieson drove in a pair with a bases loaded single just past first in the second inning while Carissa Carbone blasted a long two-run blast in the bottom of the fourth.
Dubois was Dubois, striking out the final five to end the game with eleven after retiring 10 straight at one point. At the plate, the junior standout was 2 for 3 with a run scored and an RBI.
Sarah Lawton and the defending Class S champions await the Raiders on Monday.
Can Torrington get over the hump and back to a final?
Their head coach, Maryanne Musselman thinks they have the ability and nerve.
“I think the mental end of the game is huge,” Musselman said. “But I think they have been doing a great job with that of late. They have been keeping their cool and their composure.”