2013 Year in Review. May. Matzko + Torrington = Perfection...By John Torsiello.
By, JOHN TORSIELLO
There was no Gatorade dumped on Torrington High School softball coach Maryann Musselman, no symbolic pile up on the mound, no shouts of “We’re number one.” Going 20-0 after beating Naugatuck, 2-1, Thursday afternoon at THS in the final contest of the regular season was viewed by the Raiders as one stop on what they hope will be a road paved with golden bricks this spring.
“It’s a nice milestone and something no other Torrington softball team has done,” said junior lefthander Sydney Matzko, who struck out 11 batters and worked out of two tight jams.” We know we have a lot of games left and the Naugatuck Valley League Tournament next week, so we’re just keeping it low-keyed. It’s nice to be undefeated but we just have to push harder now.”
Matzko, while not dominating as she has been in so many games this year and throughout her career, was nonetheless solid and at her best when Naugy, which finished the regular season 14-6, put pressure on her in the first and sixth innings.
In the first, the plucky visitors got the first two batters on, but Matzko retired the next three hitters, two on K’s.
In the sixth, the Greyhounds scored their only run when junior Gillian Fortier got ahold of one of Matzko’s fastballs and hit a booming home run to left field.
Sophomore Kara Klimaszewski then bunted her way on and senior Sarah Chandler singled. Both runners moved up to put the tying run on third and go-ahead run on second when junior Erica Bohuski bunted the ball to Matzko, who threw the Greyhound batter out at first. With the pressure on, Matzko field a bunt by senior Sydney Cotta, held Klimaszewski at third and threw Cotta out at first. She then fanned sophomore Shannon Searles to prevent further damage.
Matzko breezed through the top of the seventh, retiring the side in order.
“She thrives on pressure situations,” Musselman said of her star hurler, who now has a remarkable 295 strikeouts on the season. “She bears down and gets the job done.” Per usual, the Torrington ace didn’t walk a batter.
Torrington scored its runs in the first and second innings off Naugy hurler Jenn Miller, a promising sophomore for the Greyhounds.
In the first, junior Nicole Jamieson singled to center, stole second, went to third on a ground out and scored on a single by, who else, Matzko, one of the Raiders’ best hitters. Senior Baylee Vinisko doubled and went to third on a ground out. Torrington had runners on first and third after junior Sarah Heath walked. But Vinisko was caught too far down the line when freshman Cierra McGowen laid down a bunt and Vinisko was thrown out trying to get back to third. Naugy hurt itself when catcher Searles threw the ball wild trying to pick McGowen off first base, allowing Heath to score.
Matzko breezed through the middle innings and Miller kept Torrington scoreless the rest of the way. The Naugy hurler gave up only seven hits and struck out two. Although she didn’t have overpowering stuff, she kept the Raiders, who have become a powerful offensive force this season, off balance with an assortment of fastballs and changeups.
“Hey, we’re 20-0!” exclaimed Musselman, granting herself a giddy moment after the contest, as her team headed off in different directions. “I wish we could have scored more today but they (Naugy) played well and made some very nice plays.”
She added, “Naugy put the bat on the ball today, which is what the good teams are going to be trying to do in the upcoming tournaments. I think the girls are feeling relaxed and I don’t sense any nervousness about being undefeated, but we will see what happens.”
Vinisko said being undefeated was a goal of the team before the season began.
“After going 18-2 in the regular season last year we wanted to go 20-0 this year. It’s great having Sydney as our pitcher but I think she knows she can depend us behind her to make plays. Teams will be coming to beat us because we’re undefeated, so we will have to work hard in the coming games.”
Torrington seems to have the ingredients to win the NVL Tournament and make a deep run in the state tournament. First, of course, there is Matzko, and the Raiders have shown they can score in bunches. They have put 12 or more runs the board nine times, including a 20-run, a 16-run and five 15-run outbursts. They have failed to score five or more runs only four times this season, against Naugy on Thursday, Wolcott, Seymour and Holy Cross. Tuesday’s one-run win was the closest an opponent has come to the Raiders since, ironically, the first contest of the year when Torrington beat Holy Cross, 3-2.
Vinisko had a double and single, Matzko two hits, Alex Porter a double and Jamieson a hit.
Torrington now waits to see who it will play in the first game of the NVL Tournament next week.
Naugatuck 000 001 0 1 5 2
Torrington 110 000 x 2 6 0
Jenna Miller and Shannon Searles; Sydney Matzko and Marissa Morris. WP: Matzko. LP-Miller. HR-Gillian Fortier (N). 2B-Baylee Vinisko (T), Alex Potter (T).