Softball: Warriors go down fighting in 2-0 loss to Amity
For the second state playoff game in row, it would have been hard to guess that the Wilton High softball team was the 29th seed in the Class LL tournament.
Coming off Tuesday’s 5-1 upset over fourth-seeded Bristol Eastern, the Warriors turned in another excellent performance on Wednesday at 13th-seeded Amity.
This time, however, the bounces didn’t go Wilton’s way, and it was Amity that made the key plays in the field — and got the key hits — to score a 2-0 win and move on to the quarterfinals.
Wilton finished the season at 10-12.
Head coach Brian Jacobs couldn’t find much to fault in the Warriors’ performance, despite the defeat.
“This is the kind of game that you expect, that you hope, to put on the field at this point in the season. It was just a great game all the way around,” said Jacobs, who coached the team with Bruce Cunningham. “We’ve definitely been firing on all cylinders. The last couple of weeks we’ve definitely developed quite a bit. Kids have really been stepping up and playing hard, and playing efficient, playing aggressive, all the way around.”
The decisive hit of the game came in the bottom of third, an opposite-field triple down the right-field line by Carly Marchitto that just landed in fair territory, driving in the only two runs of the game.
But with the runner on third and one out, third baseman Claire Wilson fielded a grounder, looked the runner back, and got the out at first. A ground-out to pitcher Kate Shouvlin then ended the inning without further damage, with Amity up 2-0.
For the game, Shouvlin allowed two runs on seven hits and one walk.
Grace Whitman got the win for Amity (17-5) with a three-hit shutout. She struck out three and walked two.
The Warriors made good contact in their bid to rally late in the game. In the top of the fifth, Wilson and Shouvlin both hit the ball hard to the left side, but thanks to good plays by the Amity third baseman (Brooke Matyasovsky) and shortstop (Nicole Koshes) they resulted in outs.
In the sixth, Wilton got something going when Hannah Belanger lined a soft single to left and Eliza Ward hit a blooper that dropped into short centerfield for a hit, putting two runners on with one out. But Whitman got a force-out at third and flyball out to end the threat.
In the seventh, Juliana Musilli led off with a walk, raising Wilton hopes. With one out, Shouvlin delivered, drilling a scorching line drive to centerfield — but directly at centerfielder Danielle Nordyk, who made the catch for the second out. The game then ended on a grounder back to the mound.
“We probably hit the ball better today than we did yesterday. We had a lot of line drives straight at people and a lot of hard groundballs that they made the plays on. We had a lot of quality at-bats up and down the order but to (Amity’s) credit they made a lot of greats plays on defense, too,” said Jacobs. “Those are the types of at-bats we’ve been working on all year — getting them to be selective, getting them to be aggressive when the ball’s in their zone, and taking good cuts.”
Defensively the Warriors came up big several times to thwart Amity rallies, with four double plays in the game.
In the first inning, Musilli snagged a hard line drive at second base and threw to Iso Casiraghi at first to double off a runner.
In the third, after a leadoff single, Amity’s next batter was thrown out on a sacrifice bunt. Musilli, taking the throw at first, caught the runner making too wide of a turn at second and threw to shortstop Sophia Strazza, who put the tag on her for the second out.
In the fifth, a 4-6-3 double play — Musilli to Strazza to Casiraghi — erased a leadoff walk.
The defensive best play of the game came in the bottom of the sixth. With a runner on first after a leadoff single, Jenna Thomas hit a shot to deep centerfield that Belanger tracked down right at the fence. The runner at second tagged, but Strazza took Belanger’s relay throw and made a perfect strike to Wilson at third to nail the runner.
For the Warriors, Belanger was 1-for-2 with a walk, and Ward and Shouvlin were both 1-for-3. Musilli walked.
For Amity, Emily Mullins was 2-for-2 and Matyasovsky went 2-for-3. Marchitto had a triple and two RBI, Nordyk was 1-for-3, and Marissa Dwyer singled, walked and score a run. Rachel Crow walked.
“You can’t take anything away from Amity. They’re traditionally one of the best programs in the state, both this year and historically. We knew they would come out and put some pressure on us, but we responded,” said coach Jacobs. “We played great defense again. Kate was pitching the ball really well again. There isn’t any one thing you can point at and say, yeah, we should have done this better.”
Note: It was the final game for three Wilton starters — Ward, Pippa Gosden and Sage Zunda, the team’s starting pitcher until a season-ending injury a month into the season.