BRISTOL – Plainville softball is playing catch-up as it just started its season last Friday, while most area teams already have a week’s worth of games under its belt.
The Blue Devils have begun the year 0-2, but showed signs of improvement in their 16-1 loss to Bristol Central Monday.
“We took a step forward here,” Plainville coach Scott Marcucio said Monday. “We played a much cleaner game than we did on Friday so that was our goal. Our goal was just to play a much cleaner game and limit the mistakes, which we did today.”
Simsbury downed the Blue Devils, 21-4, on Friday, Apr. 23.
After a slow start in where the Blue Devils gave up 10 runs in the first inning against the Rams, Plainville settled down and tightened up defensively, making a few nice grabs in the outfield on hard hit balls from Bristol Central.
“Defensively, we made a lot of good plays out there,” Marcucio said. “Unfortunately, some balls we couldn’t get to, they were hit in just the right spots in the wrong time for us. The message today was just get better than we were yesterday and Friday and we took a step forward (Monday). That was our main goal (Monday).”
The Rams offense returned in the fifth inning with six more runs as the hosts looked more comfortable all throughout the contest.
“It’s clear, they had a lot more experience there, four or five games, six games into the season already,” Marcucio said. “This is number two for us. We’re still trying to figure things out here and there, individually, and as a team. It’s clear that they’re rolling right now at this point, this early in the season. It didn’t help, but the focus was on us anyway. I told them before the game, just worry about ourselves and just making sure we all get better.”
The victory moved Bristol Central to 4-1 on the year.
Missing the 2020 season affected the Blue Devils roster configuration as they lost a few key figures, forcing them to add some young talent into the lineup without varsity experience.
“From last year’s team we had about five seniors,” Marcucio said. “We lost about three starters from two seasons ago, and two other girls with some experience. Five seniors, it’s tough to recover from sometimes, but we’re pretty young here.
“Friday and today we started four freshmen,” Marcucio said. “It is what it is. They’re young but they have a really great attitude and work ethic, and we’ll progress quicker than I think the girls realize we will.”
Marcucio mentioned Kayla Wisz and Sabrinna Matthews as seniors who should lead this youthful Plainville bunch. Wisz pitched Monday while Matthews reached base via walk in one of her two at bats.
“We have a strong senior class with good leadership,” Marcucio said. “Our two captains, Wisz and Matthews, they’ve been showing excellent leadership, really since their freshman year. Now that they’re senior captains, they’re exhibiting the same leadership and it’s great to see. We have two other seniors that came out for the team this year, Kori Jones and Tessa Susco, and they’ve shown good leadership.”
The Blue Devils exemplified their maturity on Monday as well by continuing to pressure the Rams throughout the game, despite being down big for most of the contest.
“For a young team, we’re pretty mature,” Marcucio said. “It’s kind of surprising to see the freshmen, sophomores and juniors all have really good attitudes. They’re very coachable and it’s a lot easier to coach when you don’t have to worry about things other than softball when you’re on the field. It’s very refreshing this year to have a lot of very mature girls and some very good leadership on the squad.”
With four games in four days coming up, Plainville should find its footing quickly. With the amount of inexperience on the roster, playing more games will help ease in the fresh faces for the Blue Devils and allow them to catch back up with the rest of the local competition.
Plainville will next play Thursday night on the road against St. Bernard at 4 p.m. and will play over the weekend on the road against Lyman Memorial at 11 a.m. Saturday.
Ryan Ames can be reached at 860-801-5094 or on Twitter @_RyanAmes.