BERLIN - After the Berlin softball teamâ€™s 0-2 start to the season, the Redcoats went down south to Florida for scrimmages and a refresher before their three-game homestand.
The team must have brought some of the Florida heat back with them.
Berlinâ€™s bats caught fire in a monstrous fourth inning that saw a five runs scored on five hits, including a home run by center fielder Lindsay Walsh. When the dirt settled, the Redcoats socked four home runs, including a grand slam by Jenna Zup, and 14 runs in the final three innings of a 16-5 win over Platt at Sage Park on Friday afternoon.
â€śI think this was by far our best hitting today,â€ť head coach Jason Pires said. â€śIâ€™m pleased with how we did against their No. 1 pitcher. Almost everyone in the lineup made solid contact.â€ť
The solid contact took a few innings to percolate, as Berlin (1-2) trailed 3-2 after three, before Walshâ€™s in-the-park smash awoke a sleeping giant in the rest of the Redcoatsâ€™ lineup, who tagged Panthersâ€™ starter Caitlyn Hunt and reliever Alyssa Donohue for six extra base hits from the fourth inning to the final out.
â€śI think it was really big,â€ť Walsh said of the decisive fourth inning. â€śThe energy had been kind of low and once we started getting some hits, it kind of brought the energy back.â€ť
The hits began in the fourth a triple by Rylee Cop, who planted the ball just short of the left field fence. Cop scored on a sac fly off the bat of Casey Uryga before the red-hot Walsh stepped in and socked a drive to the wall in left for an inside-the-park home run, giving Berlin the lead back for good.
The homer was Walshâ€™s third hit of the day, though she never thought it would result in a round-tripper.
â€śAbsolutely not,â€ť Walsh said. â€śI watched it go past [the outfielderâ€™s] glove and I just wanted to try my best and not miss any bases.â€ť
Still, the Redcoats werenâ€™t done. Walshâ€™s homer sparked a stretch of five straight Berlin batters to reach base, starting with a walk to Jenna Zup, who later scored on a single up the middle by Kylie Lanteri. Catcher Callie Genron followed with a laser over the left fielderâ€™s head that rolled to the fence for the teamâ€™s second inside-the-park dinger of the inning. Gendronâ€™s two-RBI mash completed a five-run inning for Berlin, who ended the fourth feeling much better about itself than when the team took the field an inning earlier.
â€śI think we got more focused,â€ť Pires said. â€śWe got behind and that sort of woke them up.â€ť
Hart was removed with an apparent arm injury after the fourth, and the Redcoats kept their suddenly hot bats going against the emergency reliever Donohue. Uryga knocked in two with a double after back-to-back singles by Julia Ladd and Cop, and Zup followed with her second hit of the game, a two-run dinger on a hard liner down the third base line. With the bags wiped clean, Lanteri started the carousel all over again with a walk, and eventually scored on two straight singles from Gendron and Stefanie Poulin.
The Redcoats tacked on four more in the sixth thanks to another home run, a grand slam into the gap in left center by Zup, racking up her RBI total to six on the day and put Berlin ahead 16-3.
Walsh, Zup, Poulin and Gendron all finished with three hits on the day to pace the teamâ€™s 20-hit attack,
The blowout win was the Redcoatsâ€™ 10th in a row against Platt dating back to 2014, with the last six being decided by eight runs or more. For a Berlin team in need of a win, the offensive dominance up-and-down the lineup was the perfect antidote to a 0-2 start.
â€śWeâ€™re in a good place,â€ť Pires said. â€śBut we did put ourselves behind the eight ball and now we have to keep it going.â€ť
Ryan Chichester can be reached at (860) 801-5094 or firstname.lastname@example.org