HARTFORD – The Southington softball team extended its winning streak to 21 games and celebrated Memorial Day as CCC Champions after a 10-1 win over Enfield to close out the conference tournament.
All 11 runs in the game were scored in the third inning as the fourth-seeded Eagles notched their only run of the contest in the top of the frame, before opening the door for the top-ranked Blue Knights to burst through for 10 runs in the bottom. Southington enters the Class LL state tournament as the top seed and has just one loss on its record (22-1).
“I’m really glad we managed to get here, the energy of this game was absolutely amazing,” senior Jazmin Lasane said. “Going into [state] tournaments right after this, it’s a really good win.”
Senior Julia Panarella made her return to the circle Monday after missing a couple of games and found a rhythm early in the game. She escaped a bases-loaded jam in the second inning without allowing any runs and finished the day with just one run against her record, using her experience from Southington’s 5-2 win over Enfield in the regular season.
“The last time we played Enfield we had a lot of down energy,” Panarella said. “I think the energy today really helped us in all aspects to show us that we can take one run and turn it into 10.”
A single from Olivia Stebbins drove home the lone Enfield run as the Eagles were able to make up for not scoring with full base paths in the previous inning.
Trailing by one, the Blue Knights were adamant about answering their opponents score immediately and ended up erupting for 10 runs in the bottom of the third inning. They started the frame with two singles, and the third single nearly scored the tying run, but the runner was thrown out at home plate. That action did move the other two runners to second and third, and they were bunted home with the next two batters to give Southington a 2-1 lead.
“Our goal this year has been whenever a team scores on us, we try to answer back right away,” head coach Davina Hernandez said. “Our goal that inning was to get that one run back and we happened to get 10. We just kept stringing together some line drives, base hits. We’ve been working really hard on hitting line drives and keeping the ball down and hard in practice and stringing some hits together.”
The Blue Knights still had plenty more to offer before returning to the field, adding eight more runs that inning, highlighted by two home runs. Lasane came to the plate the bases loaded and ripped a line drive into the right-center field gap of the expansive outfield, giving all of her teammates and herself plenty of time to reach home.
“The energy, that was the key factor in everything,” Lasane said. “Keeping our heads up, too, and just getting bat on ball. We were definitely in it that inning, we had the rally going.”
Southington continued to put runners on base and junior Ashlyn Deslaulniers capped off the scoring, hitting one into the same gap as Lasane and getting all the way around the bases for a three-run home run.
The Blue Knights will now set their focus on the state tournament where it is the top-seeded team in Class LL and received a bye through the first round. They will face the winner of No. 16 Pomperaug and No. 17 New Milford in the second round Wednesday.