Raiders stay within themselves, beat previously unbeaten East Granby by a 4-1 final.
TORRINGTON: The Torrington softball team has faced three high level pitchers this season and had lost three games to two of them.
Sarah Lawton (Holy Cross, once) and Jenna Geffert (Seymour, twice) have been aces who the Raiders had not been able to solve and it seems to have to do with their mental approach to both stars as much as anything.
On Saturday morning in an 11 a.m. start, the Raiders hosted another high-quality pitcher when Genna Hartman and the unbeaten East Granby (10-0) Crusaders came to town and thanks to a relaxed approach at the plate by the home team, came away with an important 4-1 win.
Senior Amanda Thiel knocked in a pair of runs with a long single and a sacrifice fly and said the difference against Hartman may have been not knowing her as opposed to knowing the NVL power pitcher too well.
“We know that Sarah (Lawton) likes to get us to chase the rise ball,” Thiel said. “We tell ourselves not to swing but the pitch comes and we swing anyway because she is in our head. Against a pitcher we don’t know, we seem to just try and hit the ball where it is pitched.”
Hartman and the Crusaders came in with a perfect 10-0 mark, good for second in the state in Class S and the senior pitched a quality game with 10 strikeouts and an ability to work out of trouble which she did on several occasions.
What was good to see from the Raiders was their ability to play small ball, to get bunts down and to come up with big hits from different spots in the lineup when needed.
Starting with the bunts, Torrington connected on six of them on Saturday, three apiece from Nina Julian and Taylor Rogers.
Julian reached on an error in the first inning on a nice bunt that the Crusaders second basemen dropped for an error, put down a terrific sacrifice that moved Alexis Tyrrell to third in the third and beat out a bunt and scored in the Raiders two-run fifth inning.
Rogers beat out her first bunt attempt in the second, stole second and scored on a long single by Thiel in the second before moving Lauren Jamieson to third (Jamieson had doubled to lead off the fourth) where she scored on a sacrifice fly by Thiel for a 2-1 lead.
Thiel had looked bad in the second inning on a pitch up near her eyes that she swung at before collecting herself before the next pitch which she lined down the left field line for a single that eventually saw her on third when the Crusaders leftfielder misplayed the ball for a two-base error.
“I told myself I had to make that up to myself,” Thiel said.
Raider ace Ali DuBois battled her way through to a four hit, one run 15 strikeout effort including the mowing down the side in the second and seventh innings.
The visitors scored their only run of the game to tie things in the fourth, thanks to a long double off the bat of Lily McCarthy which drove in Hartman who had sliced a single down the right field line with one out.
After a walk, DuBois settled down to strike out the next two hitters and escape with no further damage done.
East Granby would threaten again in the top of the sixth when Hartman reached on an error by DuBois on a comebacker that escaped her and when she recovered, threw it past Thiel for an error.
McCarthy walked and runners wound up on second and third thanks to a double steal with just one out in the inning.
DuBois would bear down, as she has been known to do by striking out the final two batters of the inning, the last on a called third strike, her 13th of the game at that point.
Torrington would give their ace some insurance in their half of the fifth when they plated two runs, thanks to an RBI fielder’s choice off the bat of Carissa Carbone and a sacrifice fly from Jamieson to make it a 4-1 game.
Jamieson had herself a terrific game with the double and sacrifice fly on consecutive bats in consecutive innings. Her double was as shot down the left field line, her sacrifice fly just deep enough in left to score the run.
The senior shortstop also made a nice play on a soft liner in the fifth inning off the bat of Nicole Gosselin.
A Torrington offense getting contributions from all parts of their lineup was something that made the head coach, Maryanne Musselman happy.
“To get contributions from different parts of our batting order was huge,” Musselman said. “To be able to get bunts down and execute the way we did was critical today and will be going forward.”
East Granby falls to 10-1 with the loss while the Raiders improve to 6-3 with the win.
Torrington will attempt to play four games this coming week, away at Kennedy on Monday and Tuesday at Wolcott before coming home for a big match up against St Paul on Wednesday and a rivalry game against Naugatuck on Friday.