NEW BRITAIN - It was a back-and-forth battle the CT Mirage #2 (Newington) did not want to lose.
Fresh off a win from its morning game, Newington was determined to head into keep its momentum going in the Nutmeg Games 16U softball tournament.
Gabrielle Giannantoni drove in two runs and tossed a complete game from the pitching circle and Val Pino drove in two more as the Mirage beat the CT Tides White (Durham) 6-5 at Chelsey Park Saturday afternoon.
“We were able to tie the game early and then take the lead,” the CT Mirage head coach Jason Bradley said. “We were able to control the game for the most part.”
After the Tides scored in a run in both the top of the first and second Newington answered with five runs of its own over its first two innings at the plate.
Giannantoni and Harley Jasmine drove in two in the bottom of the first. Giannantoni hit a sacrifice fly to bring in Kay Roy, while Jasmine drove in Rebecca Vesco on a single to right field.
Giannantoni continued her strong game at the plate with an RBI single to center field an inning later with Pino following up with a two-run double to take the 5-2 lead. Abby Well tacked on the team’s sixth run in the fourth on a single to left field.
“We were able to get out bats going early,” Pino said. “I was able to finish the game with two pretty important hits.”
But the Tides continued to come.
After scoring in the fourth, Durham scored two unanswered runs in the fifth on a pair of errors by Newington.
“The defense started off really well but as the game went on it died down,” Giannantoni said. “We had a couple errors in the end but we picked ourselves up.”
Giannantoni had a lot to do with that. Despite some struggles throughout the game, she struck out the Tides final batter of the afternoon.
“Our pitcher made some good pitches and ended the game for us,” Bradley said.
But this will be just the first meeting between the two teams in the tournament. Newington and Durham will play again today at 11 a.m. at Chesley Park after the Mirage fell to the CT Seahawks 9-5 in their third game of the day. The winner will move on to the gold medal game at 1 p.m., while the loser will play for the bronze medal, also at 1 p.m.
But Newington knows if it is able to commit fewer errors, it should have a chance to play for, if not win, the gold in its first-ever Nutmeg Games. Either way, the team is viewing this as a learning experience for the upcoming high school season.
“It’s good competition for us and our coach believes we can win it,” Pino said.
The Mirage will find out today.
Shelby Iava can be reached at (860) 801-5096 or firstname.lastname@example.org