Sweet start: Wilton softball team tops New Fairfield, 9-2

In the first game of the season, the Wilton High softball team gave its new digital scoreboard a workout. Two big innings provided plenty of runs as the Warriors routed New Fairfield, 9-2, in a non-conference game Wednesday afternoon in Wilton.

The win was the first in a season opener for the Warriors under third-year head coach Brian Jacobs.

Wilton scored five runs in the bottom of the fourth inning and added three more in the sixth. Jacobs watched his team execute some of its goals for the season: Using its speed, limiting errors and big innings by opponents, and getting timely hitting.

"The team worked hard in the off-season and the preseason, and we clearly have shown positive improvements from top to bottom," said Jacobs. "When we opened up a lead in the fourth inning, we went back on the field in the fifth and we shut them down — something we had a problem doing in the past.

"We used good base running and capitalized on their fielding errors to come away with the win," added Jacobs. "The infield played a solid defensive game and made all the smart plays.”

Wilton got a run in the bottom of the first without a hit. Leadoff batter Hannah Belanger, a freshman, reached on an error, stole second, and came in to score on an RBI groundout by Sage Zunda.

Wilton carried the 1-0 lead into the bottom of the fourth inning, when the Warriors tallied five runs on just two hits. Belanger had the big hit that drove in two runs as Wilton made New Fairfield pay for its three errors. Taylor Floyd opened the inning with a single and came around to score on one of the Rebels' errors.

Wilton pitcher Zunda held the Rebels scoreless through the first five innings, scattering four hits. Zunda was the benefit of solid defense all game long. Third baseman Cate McCabe caught a line drive and doubled off a runner to end the first inning. In the second inning, leftfielder Pippa Gosden backed up a play at third, and when the ball leaked out into the outfield Gosden was there to shoot down the runner at the plate, with catcher Eliza Ward applying the tag.

New Fairfield got on the scoreboard with a single run in the sixth on a walk and two singles.

Gosden started the bottom of the sixth inning with a double — the Warriors' only extra-base hit of the game — and scored on a fielder’s choice and a throwing error. An RBI single by Ward and another fielder’s choice plated two more runs for Wilton.

New Fairfield got a single and an RBI triple with two outs in the top of the seventh before Zunda retired the next batter to end the game.

Notes: Zunda allowed seven hits, while striking out seven and walking two in the complete-game victory.

The Warriors had eight hits in the contest.