SOUTHINGTON - It had been a week since the Southington softball team played an actual game and the No. 1 Blue Knights looked as sharp as ever.
After just two innings, Southington found itself with a 17-run lead before rolling past 16th-seeded New Britain 19-1 in the second round of the Class LL tournament Wednesday afternoon at Southington High School. The game lasted just five innings.
The lone run the Hurricanes scored came in the third inning. CoCo Velazquez hit a sacrifice fly out to right field to bring home Paola Martinez.
“I told the girls they had nothing to lose,” New Britain head coach Joel Simmone said. “It’s very difficult playing a program that has a feeder system, travel ball players and with the tradition they have. The only thing we could do was come in and do our best and obviously it wasn’t good enough. Regardless of how it turned out, this is the best group of girls I have ever had.”
Hurricanes (13-7) shortstop and pitcher Joseleen Rivera was 2-for-3 and in the pitching circle struck out three and walked three.
“No matter what, we always gave it our all,” Velazquez said. “We always did it for each other and we always played with our heart. Every game to me was the best, no matter if we won or lost, it was always a lesson.”
As for the Blue Knights (20-1), their success started early, scoring 10 runs in the first inning with Francesca Ferrante breaking the game open with a two-run double. Ferrante went 3-for-3 with three RBI and one run scored.
All season long, Southington has been working on its hitting, and Wednesday it showed. Five Blue Knights finished with two hits or more throughout the duration of the game.
“We really came out and made a statement,” Southington head coach Davina Hernandez said. “Our bats have been a little bit on the quieter side the second half of the season. We have been working really hard on our hitting in practice and just putting our offense together; hitting, bunting and slapping. It was really nice to see that come together today.”
Junior shortstop Chrissy Marotto got the Blue Knights started in the first inning, hitting a triple to left field. She was late driven in by Sarah Myrick, who finished the afternoon 2-for-5 with three RBI and three runs scored.
“I think we came out strong,” said Marotto, who went 4-for-4 with two RBI and four runs scored. “The whole team is getting ready to play today. I felt really strong in the cage, warming up so I brought it to the game and everyone done well.”
As the Southington’s offense continued to roll, Kara Zazzaro was dominant from both the pitching circle and at the plate. Zazzaro was 3-for-3 with three RBI and one run scored and in the circle, struck out nine batters and only gave up two hits in three innings.
“I think Kara has done a phenomenal job for us all year,” Hernandez said. “I thought she showed tremendous presence on the mound today and both at the plate.”
Relieving Zazzaro was Julia Theriault. The junior finished the game strong for the Blue Knights, striking out three and only walking one.
Southington will continue on in the Class LL tournament and will host the ninth-seeded South Windsor (17-5) Friday at 3 p.m.
Shelby Iava can be reached at (860)801-5096 or firstname.lastname@example.org