Print this story

Torrington softball grows up a bit in a 5-4, comeback win over Sacred Heart.

POSTED April 22, 2011
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

Torrington senior, Chelsea Matzko, gets ready to release a pitch during first inning action on Thursday in the Raiders game with Sacred Heart. After giving up four runs in the first inning, Matzko settled down and shut out the Hearts the remainder of the game while her team came all the way back for a 5-4 win.

Municipal Stadium, Waterbury: On a cold and blustery (understatement) Thursday afternoon on the lightning fast artificial surface of this grand complex, the Torrington softball team took a big step towards maturing as a team.

Down 4-0 after one inning, the young Raiders battled back with their bats, defended well with their gloves and rode the strong arm of their senior pitcher for a come from behind, 5-4 win over Sacred Heart.

Chelsea Matzko threw a complete game and after the shaky first inning that saw her give up four runs and three hits, shut down the Hearts out over the next six on just two hits while her team battled back for the win.

Matzko finished with eight strikeouts and was confident she could get things under control after the opening frame.

“I just had to get used to my catcher and get myself settled down,” Matzko said, “We showed a lot of tenacity in coming back like we did.”

The younger half of this duo that opposing coaches are already regretting seeing this year, Sydney Matzko, helped her older sis out with a long, game tying blast over the left field fence in the fifth inning to tie things at four.

In the top of the seventh, freshman Matzko lined a single of the glove of Hearts second baseman, Megan Sheehy for the go ahead run.

This kid is looking like one who may go down in the Torrington (4-4) books as one very special player; on the mound, in the outfield and in the batters box.

“She is the real deal,” Raiders head coach Maryann Musselman said, “There is a good chance she will go on to be an All-State player.”

On a day that made Tuesday’s misty rain look nice, both teams battled through winds that made anything in the air an adventure.

Torrington arrived at Municipal at about 3:15 p.m. and had little time to warm up and it showed during the Hearts bottom of the first.

A Raiders throwing error started things; three singles, a stolen base and a ground out later, the deficit was set at 4-0.

After giving up the RBI grounder to Mandy McKay, Matzko settled down to retire 12 of the next 13 batters she would face, giving her team time to mount a comeback, which started in the top of the third.

Catcher Sam Pelow started things off with a single to right and moved to second when a fly ball off the bat of Sydney Matzko was dropped in left field.

Third baseman Talia Zabbara would knock in two runs with a pop fly double that started near the second baseman and landed just behind first (via the jet stream that flowed from left to right) and the lead was cut in half at 4-2.

The senior Matzko would help her own cause with a double to center that scored Zabbara and made it a 4-3 ball game.

Let’s talk about the week the freshman Matzko had and topped off Thursday.

On Monday, she would give up just two runs while striking out 13 in a 2-0 loss to Tori Cheske and Holy Cross.

On Tuesday in the rain, the ninth grader blanked Crosby by an 11-0 score while striking out 10.

On Thursday, Sydney Matzko played centerfield and at the plate, was wearing out the pitches she was seeing from Finkenzeller all game. Several foul balls would have be gone if she had straightened them out.

Forget the wind; the power Matzko was supplying could not be affected by any jet stream and in the top of the fifth, he cleared the left field fence for a game tying round tripper.

“We worked hard to get back in the game,” Matzko said, “We just had to bear own and play together.”

The Hearts (3-5) would threaten again in the bottom of the fifth when with two outs, consecutive walks and ensuing stolen bases, put runners on second and third.

Jenna LoRusso of Sacred Heart then sent a ball out to semi-deep right field and high that was corralled by Lauren Bakula, who stayed with the ball while it drifted towards downtown Waterbury.

The Raiders were proving to themselves that they could come back and the confidence showed in the field as well.

Never will they be able to see a truer hop than you see on the turf and with her defense secure, senior Matzko took care of business the rest of the way; retiring the last seven she faced in wrapping up the win.

For more from Timothy W. Gaffney click here