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As if four games in as many days — necessitated by early-season weather-related postponements — wasn’t enough, a pair of these Newtown High School softball contests went into extra innings this past week.
The Nighthawks had to wait ten days for a makeup against nonconference foe St Joseph of Trumbull, and two weeks to play what was the scheduled season-opener at Ridgefield. They had to wait even longer than the usual seven innings for both games to end.
Newtown lost a thriller of a game 5-4 in nine innings at St Joe’s, on April 12, and pulled out a dramatic 2-0 victory on the road against another FCIAC team, Ridgefield, on April 14. The Hawks also dropped a 4-1 decision to visiting Joel Barlow of Redding on April 11, and fell 3-0 at Masuk of Monroe on April 13.
They carry a 3-3 overall mark into a Friday, April 20, visit to New Fairfield, at 4:15 pm. An April 16 scheduled visit to Pomperaug of Southbury was rained out and moved to Saturday, April 21, beginning at 1 pm.
Against St Joes, down to their final out, the Hawks erased a two-run deficit with a game-tying home run to left field off the bat of Sara Kennedy in the top of the seventh inning, and went ahead on Kaysie Fisher’s eighth-inning blast, also over the wall in left. St Joes fought back with a score-knotting homer of its own, with two outs in the bottom of the eighth, as Kayla Giacobbe belted a home run to right-center field.
After four scoreless but eventful frames in which St Joes pitcher Payton Doiron wiggled out of trouble multiple times, the Nighthawks capitalized on one of four St Joes errors to plate the game’s first run. The Cadets managed three runs against Kennedy, who struck out a dozen.
Doiron got out of a second and third, one-out jam in the third, with a strikeout and flyout.
Newtown nearly scored on a wild pitch in the fourth, but St Joe’s catcher Charlee Horton got the ball to Doiron covering the plate, and she applied the tag.
In the top of the fifth, the Cadets limited the damage to just one run thanks in large part to a diving stop by third baseman Cami Heintz, who stepped on third for the force out. Newtown’s Katie Goyda smacked a single in her first varsity at bat.
“It was a fun game. They showed a lot of heart. I’ve been looking for a spark in them and I saw that today,” Newtown Coach Joanna Closs said of her players.
Newtown-St Joes has become an annual interconference clash.
“I want to play the best teams I can to make us better in the end,” St Joes Coach Jeff Babineau said.
“They always give you a good test,” Closs said of the Cadets.
In Newtown’s eight-inning win over Ridgefield, Jackie Moccio singled leading off. Shannon Cheh had a two-out single to put runners on the corners, setting the stage for Fisher’s go-ahead double to the left-center field fence. Angela Carriero followed with an insurance RBI single to right.
Kennedy gave up just four hits, struck out nine, and walked one.
In the loss to Barlow, a trio of first-inning errors led to two Barlow runs, and the Falcons held the lead the rest of the way. Carriero had an RBI single for Newtown’s lone run.
Kennedy struck out six Masuk batters, including the last three she faced, but the offense was blanked by pitcher Sam Schiebe, who also drove in all three Panther runs. Newtown threatened with two on and one out and a bases-loaded two-out opportunity in the sixth, as Moccio and Kennedy stroked singles, and Carriero worked a walk.
“We know they’re going to have great pitching. We see them every year. We have to be prepared for that and be aggressive at the plate,” Masuk Coach Leigh Barone said of her team’s approach at the plate.