Softball: Ludlowe gets key hits in 4-1 win over Wilton

The Wilton High softball team didn't get timely hitting Friday afternoon.

But Fairfield Ludlowe did.

The visiting Falcons plated single runs in the first, second, third and sixth innings to beat Wilton, 4-1. It was just the second loss for the Warriors, who are now 6-2 this season.

When Ludlowe got its lead-off hitter on base, it scored. In the first, with a runner on second, a single gave the Falcons a 1-0 lead. Although the relay to the plate was just late, Wilton catcher Eliza Ward made a heads-up play by gunning down the Ludlowe runner attempting to go to second base on the throw home.

Two singles helped the Falcons produce another run in the top of the second, and a double, a sacrifice bunt and a single made it 3-0 in the top of the third.

The Warriors got their lead-off batters on base in the first two innings but were unable to score.

“We couldn’t string together the hit today when we needed them and they did,” said Wilton head coach Brian Jacobs. “Their pitcher had us off balance all game. But we kept battling. Again, we got solid defense and pitching; we just couldn’t get the offense on track."

With one out in the top of the fourth, Ludlowe got back-to-back singles. After a sacrifice bunt moved the runners to second and third with two outs, a wild pitch got past Ward and the runner on third broke for home. But the ball hit off the backstop and came right back to Ward, who tagged the runner out for the final out of the inning.

Wilton scored its lone run in the bottom of the fifth. With two outs and runners on first and second, pitcher Sage Zunda lined a clean single up the middle. When the Ludlowe centerfielder bobbled the ball, the lead runner scored on the play.

In the sixth inning the Falcons picked up the game’s final run on a somewhat controversial call.  A Wilton error, a double, and a walk loaded the bases for Ludlowe with one out. A fly ball to right field was snagged by Wilton's Emily Ettie, and the Ludlowe runner on third tagged up and scored while appearing to leave the base early. The umpires gathered to discuss the play but didn't overrule the run.

Wilton collected seven hits in the game, with Taylor Floyd leading the way with two singles. Hannah Belanger, Zunda, Ettie, Emma Cropper, and Maddie Christl added one single apiece for the Warriors.

Despite the loss, Wilton is just two wins away from qualifying for the state tournament, with 12 games still to play.

"We’ve grown a lot since last year and we are getting stronger as a team,” said Ward, a co-captain. “It’s great we finally have a lot more players in the program and maybe soon will be able to field a JV team. Even though we dropped two games this week the team remains positive."

"I’m very pleased with how quick we’ve come together as a team," added Jacobs. "Before the season started, I felt we had a good team. I just didn’t know when it would all come together on the field.”

Notes: Both teams received outstanding play from their shortstops. For Ludlowe, Neiza Capeles showed good range, field presence and a gun for an arm. Not to be outdone, Wilton shortstop Sophia Strazza, a freshman, went play for play with Capeles.

Zunda took the loss for the Warriors, allowing eight hits in the first four innings.