Staples rallies to beat Wilton softball team

The Wilton High softball team had a 5-1 lead after three innings, but Staples put runs on the board in each of the final four innings for an 8-5 win over the Warriors on Thursday afternoon in Wilton.

Staples scored one run in the fourth, two in the fifth, three in the sixth, and one more in the seventh, while holding Wilton scoreless during that stretch. The Wreckers’ runs were aided by Wilton errors in the fourth, sixth and seventh innings that contributed to four runs. The Warriors committed six errors in the game.

Staples had a chance to score in the top of the first inning. After the lead-off hitter singled on the game's first pitch and stole two bases, the next batter struck out. The following batter hit a comebacker to Wilton pitcher Sage Zunda, who threw home to get the runner at the plate and hold the Wreckers scoreless.

In the bottom of the first, with one out, Taylor Floyd walked, Eliza Ward doubled and Zunda walked to load the bases for Wilton. Sommer Rogg then singled to the outfield, plating Floyd and Ward for a 2-0 Warrior lead.

Staples got a single run in the third inning to cut the Wilton lead to 2-1, but the Warriors answered with three runs in the bottom of the third to go ahead 5-1 lead. With one down Zunda singled to start the rally. With two outs, Ally Rauccio singled and Sophie Phelan singled, scoring Zunda. Phelan waited perfectly for an off-speed pitch and lined it over the shortstop’s head. Emma Cropper then doubled to score Rauccio and Phelan.

The Wreckers chipped away at the lead in the fourth with an unearned run on a Wilton throwing error. In the fifth, Staples strung together three hits to score two runs to pull to within one run, 5-4.

Staples scored the go-ahead runs in the sixth inning to take a 7-5 lead. Three more hits and an error gave the Wreckers three more runs. The big blow in the inning came off the bat of Gillian Birk, who had a two-run double. Birk had three hits, including two doubles, and four RBIs in the game.

Notes: Zunda had to pitch her way out of trouble all seven innings, as the Wreckers put the leadoff batter on base in five of the seven innings.

Phelan led the Warriors with three hits and Ward added two hits.

A scary moment came in the top of the sixth inning. With two on and no outs, a hard-hit ball bounced off the infield dirt and hit Floyd in the neck. She immediately fell to the ground. But after being checked out by the Wilton trainer and cleared to resume play, Floyd returned to the field to finish the game.

The Wilton hitters have been more aggressive at the plate this year; the team is getting solid play from its younger players; and its games are much more competitive so far this season. But errors are still proving to be an Achilles’ heel.

“The team is progressing in the right direction,” said Wilton head coach Brian Jacobs. “Our battery of Zunda and [catcher] Ward have been working hard; our shortstop [Rogg] and third baseman [Floyd] have been solid in the infield.”

Zunda and Ward are sophomores and Floyd and Rogg are freshmen.

“We're still a young team and we all know we have to cut down on our mistakes to win games,” said Jacobs. “This year we’ve been able to work on more complex drills in practice and not just fundamentals of the game.”