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Matzko goes over 1000 K's as Raiders improve to 12-0 with 3-0 win over Greyhounds.

POSTED May 07, 2014
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

The Torrington girls are 13-0 in NVL softball action and a big reason is the play of junior backstop Marissa Morris and an improved offense. That and Sydney Matzko on the hill!

TORRINGTON: As the regular season winds down to its final weeks and the wins keep piling up for the Torrington girls’ softball team, finding challenges is going to be critical when it comes time for post season action.

This week, the Raiders play three of the top teams in the Naugatuck Valley League in four days, starting with Tuesday’s 3-0 win over a sound and talented Naugatuck Greyhound squad behind the 14-strike out, three hit pitching of senior Sydney Matzko.

Let’s talk the milestones first. Matzko eclipsed the 1000 career strike out mark in the top of the fifth inning when she struck out the side for the second time.

She finishes with 1003 and still has seven regular season games left, a couple of NVL Tournament games and hopefully, a deep run into the Class L State Tournament.

Let’s call it 12 more games. Even a modest 10 strikeouts puts her over 1200 for her career.

That’s just four years folks and recall she shared duties with her sister Chelsea on the mound in her freshman year. An average of 300 whiffs per year. Astounding.

Everybody who comes to play against Torrington is aware of Matzko and just how hard it is to get much done versus a pitcher who can throw six different pitches.

What still needs to be shown by this team and this program is that they can be more than a one player show when it counts.

So far this year, that seems to be the case but what the Raiders truly need, more than a Matzko 15-K effort is a challenge, or a number of them that can help them prepare for the second season.

Look at their first 12 wins. They have outscored their opponents by a 155-3 (yes 3) margin. That’s an average of 13 runs per game with giving up about a quarter of a run. That’s not easy to do.

Now, before everybody gets to giddy, this is a very weak NVL in 2014.

The Holy Cross Crusaders, a 10-2 team, was beaten 15-0 (five inning mercy rule) the first time the two teams met.

Seymour gave the Raiders a tough first six innings before falling, 6-1 late in the second game of the season, the closest margin of victory until Tuesday again the Greyhounds.

The Hawks come into Torrington on Wednesday with a quality arm of their own in Samantha Lee who can sit them down fast as well via the strikeout.

After their visit to Holy Cross on Friday, the Raiders have one more potentially (based on this year’s results) quality foe in these same Greyhounds on the road May 19.

The remaining four teams have lost by a combined score of 70-1 in their previous encounters with Torrington.

Not exactly playing on fire teams to get you ready for the postseason but head coach Maryanne Musselman is looking to pick up a few scrimmages against quality teams in order to put her players to the test.

It’s been a common problem for Torrington the past few seasons. Nobody want an official game if the help it with Matzko on the mound.

Records and rankings rule the day so if they can catch a scrimmage, so be it.

After running the table in 2013 and winning the NVL’s, there was no worse feeling for this team than when they fell in an opening round home game and saw their season end far too quickly.

Against the Greyhounds on Tuesday, Musselman and company got some of the things they needed.

An opponent that was good in the field, had a quality arm going and a couple of big bats.

Heck, after three innings, the home team was up by just a 1-0 score, a story in itself!

Torrington would put that run up in the bottom of the second on an RBI single by their number nine hitter, Brittany Young who brought home Sam Pelow, who had gotten the Raiders first hit on a short pop up behind second that fell in.

The visitors would limit the damage by throwing out Alexis Tyrell trying to score from second, something the Raiders don’t see much of, a strong throw to the plate.

No worries though, Matzko was firmly in control of every batter over the first four except for ‘Hound senior Gillian Fortier, who had a pair of booming doubles in her first two at bats.

In the top of the fourth, Fortier led off with her two-bagger but was stranded there thanks to a pair of Matzko K’s and a nice play on a foul bunt by first basemen Sara Heath.

That would be the last of the visitor’s offense until an infield single by Sandra Dinis with one out in the seventh.

The bottom of the Torrington order would account for their second run as well, this time a RBI  single by Alexa Potter that brought home Heath, who had laced a one-out double.

A great deal of the offensive change in this year’s Torrington lineup can be contributed to the play of junior Brittany Anderson, who plays with an aggression the team feeds off whenever she is up or on the base paths.

After leading of the top of the fifth with a single, Anderson began to make things happen.

First, she got herself in and out of a rundown on the base hit to left.

After stealing second, Anderson tried to score on a Marissa Morris single up the middle but was caught in such an extended rundown that Morris was able to make it all the way to third where she scored on a wild throw to third.

Aggression equaled something good happening.

That’s Anderson in a nutshell.

So win number 12 did come with any long homeruns or mercy rule stoppage of play.

Good. Just what the doctor (and coach) ordered.

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