NEWINGTON - The Newington softball team’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 didn’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.
“She is the best pitcher we have seen this season I think hands down,” Newington head coach Steve Markie said. “She throws much harder than we are used to seeing, which is good for us because we need it, but she was really good today.”
Rachel Thureson and Parchi Dave were the only hitters for Newington (12-2) that didn’t strike out in the game, as Golombiewski struck out 10. Kat Lagace, along with Rincon, were the only Indians to pick up hits.
“Not every kid is going to be able to hit this pitching at this level,” Markie said. “But we needed to do a better job of putting the ball in play. In terms of, I don’t think we were really focused on finishing all of our bunts and some of those types of things.”
“We were a little slow coming out today,” said Lagace, who finished the game 1-for-3. “We only had two hits, but I think we did alright. It’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.”
While Newington was never really able to get it going offensively, the team was never out of the game and that was because of Lagace’s work on the mound. The senior wasn’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.
“We talk about attacking the strike zone,” Markie said. “She 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.
“We don’t ask her to go out there and strike out 20 kids. It’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.”
“It’s pretty tough when you don’t have your best stuff but I’m really thankful for my team,” Lagace said. “It’s such a privilege to pitch for them because they are so good and they know what to do and they don’t crack under pressure.
“It’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 it’s important for me to be strong under pressure and really lead this team.”
The only two times Lagace couldn’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 fielder’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.
“These games are better for us than games we win 15-0,” Markie said. “It’s good to see a team like this that is good defensively.
“I give them a lot of credit. They couldn’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.”
Michael Woolfson can be reached at 860-801-5203 or On Twitter: @Bigwoolf5