Raider softball on to NVL semi's after 6-0 blanking of Naugatuck.
Ali DuBois and the Torrington Raiders beat Naugatuck, 6-0 to move into the Naugatuck Valley League semi-finals on Tuesday. DuBois struck out five and drove in two runs.
TORRINGTON: None of it gets any easier from here.
While the Torrington softball team got by a stubborn Naugatuck, 6-0 to move into the semi-finals of the Naugatuck Valley League Tournament on Tuesday against Seymour, the days of 15-0, 5-innings games are over.
Nice while they lasted but kiss them goodbye. It’s the post season and most games will be like this one was until the home team broke it open with a four-run fifth inning.
Give the Greyhounds credit, head coach Kevin Wesche had his team ready to play and even as the Raiders jumped out to a fast 2-0 lead after one, you got the feeling it would not be a repeat of the 13-0 THS win this past Monday.
“Naugy doesn’t roll over,” Raider head coach Maryanne Musseleman said. “They are very well coached and they came to play.”
Torrington got on the board in the first when Brittany Young, who has had a solid year at the plate as a senior, singled to center and came all the way around to score on a Marissa Morris triple.
Pitcher Ali DuBois, who along with Morris drove in a combined four runs, lifted a sacrifice fly to center that scored pinch runner Taylor Rogers for the second run.
“What I liked on that play was that it was a short fly to center,” Mussleman said.
The visitors looked to get things going in their half of the second when Greyhound pitcher Jenna Miller stroked a single to center.
Miller was run for by Katie Jaroneczyk who was sacrificed to second by Lauren Burns. A wild pitch put a runner on third with just one out.
Erica Andreoli then grounded to third where Raider third basemen Brittany Anderson fielded the slow roller, looked the runner back to third and then appeared to be going to first for the out.
But Anderson, as good an instinctive athlete as the Raiders have, faked the throw to first before wheeling and throwing back to shortstop Lauren Jamieson for the out as Jaroneczyk was caught in no-man’s land.
“That’s a play we work on every practice,” Musselman said, “Brittany made a great play on it.”
Anderson had already denied a Greyhound in the bottom of the first with a full extension dive to catch a bunt attempt with a runner on first.
DuBois struck out five and gave up three hits on the day but got the outs when she needed them.
Not a dominant performance but at this stage of the season, dominance is not always what the doctor ordered.
Torrington played a crisp, errorless game behind DuBois with five fairly well hit fly balls corralled with ease by the Raiders outfield.
The home team would settle this one in their half of the fifth by putting the ball in play and forcing mistakes by the Greyhounds.
Cierra McGowen led off the rally with a single to left and advanced all the way to third on a throwing error on a bunt by Anderson.
Young drove in her second run with a single into center which was followed by a Morris RBI on a bunt that went for a hit.
The fourth run of the inning would score on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Jamieson and DuBois had all the help she needed.
Up next will be the Wildcats, who beat the Raiders by a 3-0 final in the second game of the season in Seymour.
What will it take to move on to Wednesday and a spot in the finals?
“Seymour is an all-around great team,” Morris said, “I’m teammates with a few of the girls on my travel team and they are very experienced and hungry. We have to be attentive all the time and stay focused.”
“We have to play seven innings of clean softball,” Mussleman said, “But we also have to figure out a way to put the ball in play.”
Two of the best arms in the NVL await the Raiders in their quest to take home the NVL tournament title in Raeanne Geffert for Seymour and Ashley Guillette for Oxford.
Taking advantage of everything given to them will be key if the Raiders want to take o=home the ultimate prize.
NOTES: Good to see former Raider great Sydney Matzko back at THS after a very successful freshman campaign at the University of North Carolina.
Matzko posted a 14-5 record in her first season as a Tar Heel, starting 15 games, completing six of them while compiling a 2.39 ERA.