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Matzko, Red Raiders make a statement with win over Seymour

POSTED April 11, 2013
BY John Nestor
Twitter: @nestorjdn

Dakotah Manson rounds third en route to a home run during the Torrington Raiders 3-0 win over rival Seymour on Wednesday afternoon in Torrington.

TORRINGTON - Taking a cue from its best player, the Torrington High softball team played focused and determined and picked up its biggest win of the last few years.

Sydney Matzko allowed 10 hits but still managed to keep a zero on Seymour's side of the scoreboard and Torrington got a home run from Dakotah Manson and played flawless in the field en route to a 3-0 victory over the Wildcats in a matchup of NVL powerhouses on Wednesday at Torrington High.

The win pushed Torrington's record to 5-0 on the season while Seymour, the two-time defending NVL champs, dropped to 2-2. It was the Red Raiders' first win over the Wildcats since 2010.

"It's a win we've wanted for a while," Torrington coach Maryann Musselman said. "This was one of our goals this season and is a big win for us."

It was a big win because it was one that showed what kind of team this year's version of the Red Raiders can be. With Matzko, Torrington is going to be in every game it plays. Big games down the road will likely come down to solid defense and timely offense and the Red Raiders delivered both in this one.

But it was Seymour that looked like it might deliver first, loading the bases in the first inning on a bunt single, line single to left by second baseman Katie Petroski, and an infield nubber. Matzko didn't flinch though, getting Amanda Harkins to pop out to second to end the threat and it set the tone for the day.

Matzko struck out 14 and did not allow a walk. Of the 10 hits she allowed eight never left the infield and only Petroski's liner in the first was hard hit. But regardless of how they got on, Seymour did manage to get runners on, but never got one across the plate, a fact that didn't surprise Musselman.

"Syd is so focused and determined. Every day, no matter who we play she's there, she's ready," Musselman said. "In practice she's the same way and the whole team was there today. you could see it from how we warmed up to the first pitch, everyone was ready to go."

Seymour put a couple runners on again in the third but Matzko struck out the side to avoid any damage and a theme was emerging. The Wildcats put runners on and Matzko and the Red Raiders defense made sure they never came home.

"It really didn't bother me having runners on, I would just bear down on the next batter and concentrate on that," Matzko said. "Things are going to happen and sometime runners get on but I just focused o each pitch and tried to throw each one like it was my last one of the game."

With the game scoreless, Torrington broke through in the fourth. Brittany Anderson led off with a single and advanced to second on a sloppy throw to the infield from left. Nicole Jamieson put down a sacrifice bunt to move Anderson to third and Marissa Morris followed with another bunt that scored Anderson when the Wildcats threw to first.

"Marissa put down a great bunt and Brittany made a good read," Musselman said. "We work on that, and Brittany saw daylight and made a great play and got us a big run."

"We've worked on bunting a lot in practice and I just wanted to make sure I got it down and in a good spot," Morris said. "It was big to get that first run. We lost to them 1-0 in the NVL championship last season and we knew it could be another game that came down to one run."

In the sixth, the Red Raiders game Matzko a little more of a cushion. Dakotah Manson led off the inning with a home run to center field, a shot that flew over Sarah Molin's head and made it 2-0. It quickly became 3-0 as Seymour got sloppy.

Brittany Young laid down a bunt that was fielded by third baseman Grace Nisbet, who threw to first. The throw went off of the glove of Makayla O'Hara and Young went to second. Seymour right fielder Raeanne Geffert was backing up on the play and tried to throw out a sliding Young at second but her throw deflected into shallow left and Young came around to score.

The seventh was more of the same as Seymour's Morgan Scinto laid down her fourth bunt single of the game and Petroski followed with an infield nubber but neither scored as Matzko got a ground out to short and ended the game with a nasty change-up to strike out O'Hara.

"We had some chances but have had trouble scoring and again didn't get a big hit when we needed it," Seymour coach Ken Pereiras said. "Torrington has a good team and a really good pitcher. She got some big strikeouts for them."

And while it is back to the drawing board for Seymour, Torrington looks to keep building on a signature win.

"This was a big game for our confidence," Musselman said. "We played defense, put the ball in play, executed. We were focused and played with confidence and that's what we need to do."

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