Raiders drop 1-0 decision to Holy Cross. Did the lose their ace as well?
WATERBURY: The Torrington softball team dropped a 1-0 decision to rival Holy Cross on a warm Tuesday afternoon at the home of the Crusaders.
That much we know.
What remains unclear now is whether the Raiders lost something much more valuable than just one game in the season.
Senior pitcher and Boston University bound Ali DuBois was in visible pain after running to first after grounding out to short for the first out of the seventh inning.
When DuBois came back to the bench, DuBois, who has been fighting an undiagnosed lower back issue since January, collapsed to the ground in obvious pain and her status for the Raiders next game is unknown.
Without one of the state’s elite pitchers, the Raiders would certainly take a hit, both on the mound and in the batter’s box, where she bats in the clean-up spot.
DuBois had been locked in a pitcher’s duel with Holy Cross ace, Sara Lawton who has had the Raiders number the last two seasons and was spot on again on Monday, allowing just two hits while striking out 12.
Alexis Tyrrell continued her hot hitting for the Raiders as she collected both hits after a three for four performance of Monday against Woodland, a 13-0 win.
Holy Cross managed just five hits off DuBois but two of them helped build the game’s only run in the bottom of the fourth.
Crusader first baseman Alex Lombardo led off the inning with a hard double on an 0-2 pitch from DuBois that found too much plate.
“At that point, I was just trying to hit the ball,” Lombardo said, “I had told myself I didn’t want to strike out, that was my main focus. That pitch was right down the middle after she (DuBois) had been squeezing me inside the entire game.”
Second baseman Val Nobrega grounded a single to left, sending pinch runner Julia Joyce to third and creating a tremendous opportunity for the Crusaders with nobody out.
DuBois, as she has all year, bore down and got the next batter, Lizzy Diorio to ground softly to Raider third basemen Carissa Carbone who held the runner at third and got the first out.
The Crusaders would break through as the next hitter, catcher Jenna Mowad grounded a ball to second base that left Tyrrell with little chance to get the runner at the plate so the senior got the out at first.
DuBois ended the threat with a strikeout of left fielder Carley Defoe but with how Lawton was dealing, one run seemed like a large mountain for the Raiders to climb.
They would try in their half of the sixth wen Tyrrell singled to left center with one out and was sacrificed to second by Nina Julian.
Carbone was next and would attempt to push a bunt past Lawton but the senior standout made the play and the Raiders last threat was thwarted.
Torrington falls to 3-2, having lost to the two Naugatuck Valley League State Champions in Class M (Seymour) and the Crusaders (Class S).
Cross improves to 5-1, their only loss coming in a 1-0 loss to Seymour in their first game of the season.
Bigger questions remain for the Raiders if DuBois is shut down.
Sophomore Julia Fritz would be in line to take the ball on Thursday against Derby (2-4) if DuBois can’t go.
“We will have to make some adjustments,” head coach Maryanne Mussleman said. “Today we just couldn’t string anything together.”
Torrington is scheduled to take on Wolcott (4-2) on Friday on the road.
Spring is the shortest season and with the weather-related issues that plagued the Raiders, time may not be on their side.