#TurnBackTuesday. Ali Dubois and Marissa Morris. From May 10, 2015.
TORRINGTON: They are a pretty dominant duo who are continuing a pretty dominant trend in Torrington softball.
Sophomore pitcher Ali DuBois and senior backstop Marissa Morris are combining to help the Raiders maintain their spot amongst the best teams in the Naugatuck Valley League as the regular season winds to a rapid close here in mid-May.
With just three games left, Torrington sports a 13-3 mark, good for third place in a very pitching talented top of the NVL with Oxford (16-1) and Seymour (14-2). Always pesky Holt Cross is still in the mix (12-5) with Watertown (11-5) battling as well.
As has been the case for the past four-years plus at Torrington, a pitcher who misses bats has been front and center after spending her freshman year between the varsity and junior varsity where she dominated.
DuBois has taken her place amongst the elite hurlers in the NVL along with Oxford ace Ashley Guillette and Seymour star Raeanne Geffert.
The Wolverines and Wildcats produced a classic on Wednesday afternoon in Beacon Falls as the two combined to strike our 45 in a 1-0 Oxford win.
Guillette struck out 25 (295 for the season) while Geffert fanned 20 (158 for the season).
Dubois is second in the area with 171 strikeouts and has thrown nine shutouts.
“Ali is very driven,” Morris said, “She’s a perfectionist, she always wants to get the batters out, shoe wants to go after them. She wants to win, she is very aggressive.”
Morris, who will be heading off to play Division I ball at the University of Connecticut, has caught two pretty terrific pitchers during her four years as a Raider.
Sydney Matzko, who has had a fantastic freshman season at the University of North Carolina, dominated during her four year stint as a Raider.
Matzko and the Tar Heels start NCAA Tournament play today.
In their meetings against three of the top 10 teams in the state, the Raiders have come up on the short end on the scoreboard but not by much.
They faced #1 Southington a week ago and while they outhit the top team, a pair of errors led to a 2-0 loss.
Geffert and Seymour (#5) won meeting number one by a 3-0 final in the second game of the season while Guillette and Oxford (#6) edged the Raiders by a 3-2 final.
In each of those games Torrington hit the ball, but could not capitalize in key moments and their backstop understands why and what they have to do to come away with wins in that situation.
“We are a little younger,” Morris said, “Stringing together hits will be important for us when we face those real good teams. We chip away with hits but we don’t string them together.”
Torrington has had their share of blowout, can we get to the fifth inning games this year, games that don’t really prepare a team for the tough battles that await them come tournament time.
“I’d rather play teams like Southington every single day,” Dubois said, “With teams that the score get out of hand, I’ll slow down, I’ll relax a little until someone gets a hit. Against a team like Southington, I’m in it, I’m in every pitch and I’m trying to make my best pitch every time.”
The duo is helping a young Raider team (there are only three seniors, Morris, Brittany Young and Brittany Anderson) work well together as they navigate through the remainder of the 2015 campaign.
“We have really good team chemistry,” Morris said, “We work really hard on and off the field. We are playing very well together.”
Taking over for a player like Matzo is never an easy thing for whoever comes next but DuBois has made sure the drop off has not occurred, although that wasn’t what she originally thought when the season began.
“I thought that it was going to be a lot different,” DuBois said, “I thought I would have to live up to Sydney because she was such a great pitcher. I think a lot of teams underestimated us coming in, they figured with Sydney gone, they would finally be able to hit Torrington now. But then they found out about me.”
How has it been working with Morris?
“We have played together before on a travel team,” DuBois said about her battery mate, “So we already knew about each other, she knew my pitches. She knows what happens if I’m having a bad day, what to call.”
Throwing multiple pitches for strikes is essential for a pitcher who wants to take her game to the next level and DuBois has a full arsenal at her disposal and she’s working on developing more.
“My curve ball is really strong,” DuBois said, “My riser is also working and I’m throwing kind of a curve/rise ball as well.”
Thrown in an exceptional fast ball and it’s sometimes tough to be a batter against the Raider second year player.
As Torrington rounds the final corner of the regular season and heads down the stretch to the post-season, a dominant battery will led the way.
Some things just stay the same in the world of Torrington softball.