Raiders Four Wins From Ultimate Prize......
They do stand alone. Sydney Matzko and the Torrington girls softball team beat defending champion Seymour by a 3-1 score to take their first ever Naugatuck Valley League Championship. Torrington runs the table with a perfect 23-0 record.
TORRINGTON: The run of the Torrington girls softball team this season is nothing short of remarkable.
Think about. 23 games up, 23 games down without a loss.
Regardless of the sport or activity, to go an entire season without walking off the field with your head down is just not easy to do.
Things happen. A bad day, a bad hop, a bad hair day. You name it, it can throw a team off and lead to that negative outcome.
Sure, it helps to have Sydney Matzko on the mound. This is a young lady we around here have been following since she broke onto the scene as a freshman with her sister Chelsea, a fine pitcher in her own right on some Raider teams that made noise but never got to the top spot.
In a way, we have been waiting for this year based on what we have seen the past two.
Torrington dropped a 1-0 decision to Seymour a year ago in the NVL title game because while they had the stud on the mound, the bats failed.
This year has seen both shine brightly.
Matzko has struck out close to 1000 it seems (okay, 335) and the offense has at time been downright explosive.
It’s been a down year in the NVL but strong teams like the Wildcats, Woodland and Kennedy gave the Raiders a chance to bring their game to the next level.
Matzko owns an incredible ability to ramp up her competitive fire when it’s needed.
Second and third with no out?
No problem, this junior (yes I said junior) simple bears down and finds a different gear all champions possess.
On Wednesday afternoon at Wolcott High School during the NVL title game, Matzko was cruising along with a 3-0 lead going to the seventh.
Three outs from nirvana, perfection.
The Wildcats though, have not dominated the NVL for the better part of a decade without the determination to play until the umps tell them they have to go home.
A home run cuts the lead to two and lands a blow against Matzko.
Two consecutive hit batters and a sacrifice put runners on second and third with one out.
Had the invincibility of the Raiders and Matzko been broken?
Heck no, Sydney had them right where she wanted them.
Two strike outs later, the hardware comes up Route 8 instead of down the Valley to Seymour.
The first two parts of the journey are over. A regular season unbeaten mark and an NVL Championship are in hand.
Task number three for the Raiders is starting next week in the Class L State Tournament.
Torrington earned the expected first round bye and will start play on Wednesday, May 29 at 4 p.m. at home against the winner of the #16 Bunnell (11-9) and #17 SHA (11-9).
This is a stacked division with another 20-0 team in Masuk sitting at #2.
#3 Rockville (19-1), #4 East Lyme (18-2) and #5 Maloney (18-2) all loom in the distance.
The Raiders need a four-game winning streak in the States to climb another peak.
It will get rougher from here on in, no 15-0 scores at this point.
Each game will come down to clutch hitting and dominating pitching.
So far this season, the Raiders and Matzko have been up to the take each and every time.
Don’t get Sydney angry……..