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Torrington outlasts Bristol Central to advance in Class L softball tournament. By John Nestor
Torrington head coach, Maryann Musselman (middle, white shirt), talks with her team on Wednesday afternoon in Torrington. The Raiders (No. 4) moved on in Class L softball action with a 1-0 win over Bristol Central and face No 5 Brookfield on Friday at THS.
TORRINGTON - It was tense, the score was tight and the game hung in the balance on every play but none of that phased the Torrington High School softball team.
Keyed by another strong pitching performance from sophomore Sydney Matzko and some timely offensive execution, the fourth-seeded Red Raiders outlasted No. 13 Bristol Central, 1-0, Wednesday afternoon in a Class L state tournament second-round game at Torrington High.
The win lifts Torrington to 21-3 on the season and into the Class L quarterfinals, where it will host No. 5 Brookfield on Friday. Brookfield is out of the SWC and posted a 3-2 victory over No. 12 Berlin in eight innings Wednesday.
"I think we handled ourselves really well," Torrington coach Maryann Musselman said. "We had a couple errors but we picked ourselves up and stayed with it. I always tell them it's the next pitch, the next play and they moved on and did that today."
Matzko was her usual dominant self, allowing three hits and striking out 12.
In the second inning Matzko settled in, striking out the side including a pair of K's that she used a nasty changeup for strike three.
That Matzko was dominant wasn't unusual, what was a little out of the ordinary was that the other team had a pitcher that was almost as good.
Bristol Central sent senior Emily Cintorino to the mound and she matched Matzko zero for zero in every inning but one.
Cintorino allowed three hits and walked three while striking out five.
"Emily was great, both pitchers were," Bristol Central coach Phil Pirog said. "It's a shame to have this matchup so early because I think these are two of, if not the two best pitchers in Class L."
Torrington got a walk and a hit in the fourth to put two runners on with two outs. Cintorino got out of the jam with a strikeout and Raiders coach Maryann Mussleman implored her team to hang in there, "stay up, stay up."
Matzko erased an error in the top of the fifth and when Torrington came to bat in the home half Alexa Potter was ready.
Potter jumped on the first pitch she saw, belting a drive over the head of the Bristol Central center fielder for a double.
"I was just looking for a pitch to hit early in the count," Potter said. "I knew we needed to get a run on the board and I was just looking for a strike to swing at ond I got one."
It was a big hit but the Raiders still had to move Potter two more bases against Cintorino but they executed perfectly in the clutch.
First Sam Pelow laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Potter to third. That brought freshman Brittany Young to the plate and after swinging away at the first offering from Cintorino, young dropped down a bunt between the pitcher and first base line that Cintorino fielded. When she threw to first base Potter dashed for home and scored.
"I swung at the first pitch because we didn't have the bunt on, I think it was to get them thinking I wasn't going to try and bunt," Young said. "Then I just wanted to make sure I got it down and got it down away from the third base line and Alexa was able to score."
The bunt was perfect but Potter still had to make sure the throw went through.
"Once I saw the throw go to first I took off," Potter said. "I had to make sure they didn't fake or anything like that and once it went to first I had to score."
Matzko then retired the final six hitters she faced, three by strikeout including the final two outs of the game.
"I was able to go out and pitch my game, not worry about the score or the close game or have any thoughts like that," Matzko said. "My changeup was working and I was able to keep them off balance and we came through with a run in a big spot when we needed it."
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