NEWINGTON - The Newington softball teamâ€™s offense has looked like a juggernaut all season long.
Yet on Wednesday afternoon, the bats were silenced and the team dropped just its second game of the season, 2-0, at the hands of E.O. Smith.
Panthers starting pitcher Hailey Golembiewski was in control from the very beginning and didnâ€™t give up a hit until the fifth inning, when Yasmin Rincon laced a single into left field.
The Indians had just five base runners in the game via two hits, two walks and a hit batsmen and they were never able to get a runner past second base.
â€śShe is the best pitcher we have seen this season I think hands down,â€ť Newington head coach Steve Markie said. â€śShe throws much harder than we are used to seeing, which is good for us because we need it, but she was really good today.â€ť
Rachel Thureson and Parchi Dave were the only hitters for Newington (12-2) that didnâ€™t strike out in the game, as Golombiewski struck out 10. Kat Lagace, along with Rincon, were the only Indians to pick up hits.
â€śNot every kid is going to be able to hit this pitching at this level,â€ť Markie said. â€śBut we needed to do a better job of putting the ball in play. In terms of, I donâ€™t think we were really focused on finishing all of our bunts and some of those types of things.â€ť
â€śWe were a little slow coming out today,â€ť said Lagace, who finished the game 1-for-3. â€śWe only had two hits, but I think we did alright. Itâ€™s kind of hard because she was a good pitcher, probably the best we have faced all year, and she had a lot of movement. I think we took too many pitches, but I think we will bounce back.â€ť
While Newington was never really able to get it going offensively, the team was never out of the game and that was because of Lagaceâ€™s work on the mound. The senior wasnâ€™t at her best on Wednesday, but she did a great job of working out of trouble on several different occasions.
In her seven innings of work Lagace allowed 12 hits, three walks and hit a batter, but still only allowed two runs thanks to the work she did with runners on base.
E.O. Smith (9-4) stranded 13 runners in the game and on two separate occasions Lagace faced a bases loaded and nobody out situation, but each time she kept the Panthers off the scoreboard.
â€śWe talk about attacking the strike zone,â€ť Markie said. â€śShe had three walks and a hit batter today which is not normal for her, but when she attacks and gets ahead she is tough to hit.
â€śWe donâ€™t ask her to go out there and strike out 20 kids. Itâ€™s great if she can, but we like her to make them have to put it in play because a lot of teams are not going to hit the ball hard against her one through nine.â€ť
â€śItâ€™s pretty tough when you donâ€™t have your best stuff but Iâ€™m really thankful for my team,â€ť Lagace said. â€śItâ€™s such a privilege to pitch for them because they are so good and they know what to do and they donâ€™t crack under pressure.
â€śItâ€™s important to keep my head up because I know as soon as I drop my head, then they will do the same and follow, so itâ€™s important for me to be strong under pressure and really lead this team.â€ť
The only two times Lagace couldnâ€™t keep E.O. Smith off the board were the second and fourth innings and both times it was Taylor Verboven that scored.
The first time the shortsop reached on a fielderâ€™s choice and came around to score on a Gabby Petrone two-out infield single that she barely beat out.
In the fourth, Berboven was hit by a pitch with one out and scored on a wild pitch after two consecutive singles.
The loss for Newington snapped a 12-game winning streak, but Markie believes that this is the kind of game that will help the team moving forward.
â€śThese games are better for us than games we win 15-0,â€ť Markie said. â€śItâ€™s good to see a team like this that is good defensively.
â€śI give them a lot of credit. They couldnâ€™t have placed some of those balls any better, so kudos to them, but I think as long as we learn from this kind of game and get some practice with it we will be just fine.â€ť
Michael Woolfson can be reached at 860-801-5203 or On Twitter: @Bigwoolf5