BRISTOL - The Berlin softball team has made the state tournament every season since 1998, and this year was no different.
Stephanie Poulin pitched a complete game and struck out seven as the Redcoats secured their eighth win of the season with a 4-0 victory over Bristol Central Monday afternoon.
Berlin has now reached the state tournament in every single one of head coach Jason Pires’ 15 seasons leading the program.
“It’s always our first goal to get to the state tournament,” Pires said. “We really didn’t hit as well as we have been, but we played probably our best defensive game of the year and my pitcher did well. We talked about the three phases of the game: pitching, defense and hitting, and when one’s not working the other two have to make up for it and I thought we did that today.”
The Redcoats first got on the board in the third inning when freshman second baseman Kylie Lanteri hit an RBI single to right field, bringing in Casey Uryga.
“We had really good defense and our offense, we didn’t get it to where we wanted it to be,” Kylie Lanteri said. “But we can always work to achieve that goal. Our defense was solid so that helped us win.”
And as they have been the majority of the season, it was the underclassmen that came through for Berlin. The Redcoats start four freshmen; their pitcher, second baseman, shortstop and left fielder.
“We have a lot of youth and it showed in the beginning of the year,” Pires said. “We had some growing pains but they’ll get stronger with age.”
A big reason for Berlin’s 8-3 record has been Poulin’s performance from the pitching circle. Along with those seven strikeouts, the freshman didn’t issue a walk and gave up just three hits.
“We play really well as a team and we bond together really well,” Poulin said. “We talk a lot and at the end of the day we really help each other out.”
The Rams, however, couldn’t generate anything to help out Petyon Gregor, who also pitched a complete game and struck out two.
“Defensively, I thought we played OK,” Bristol Central coach Monica Hayes said. “There were just some miss played balls that really hurt us and an error that we did make really hurt us. I thought our biggest problem was our pitch selection and we just didn’t swing at a lot of strengths today. It’s hard to get on base and hard to produce something when you’re swinging at balls. I thought today that was our biggest problem.”
Uryga hit an RBI single in the top of the fourth to make it 2-0 Berlin with the Redcoats making it 3-0 two innings later after Lindsay Walsh’s RBI single to center field brought home Julia Ladd.
Berlin scored its final run in the top of the seventh.
An error on the Rams’ left fielder Mia Santilli, allowed Kylie Lanteri to reach second. Her sister, Alexa Lanteri hit an RBI double to bring her home.
Berlin finished the game with 10 hits and no errors, while the Rams had three hits and two errors.
Shelby Iava can be reached at (860) 801-5096 or firstname.lastname@example.org