SOUTHINGTON – Since its 3-1 loss to Bristol Eastern on Apr. 14, Southington softball has rattled off five straight wins to move to 6-1 on the season, with its latest victory coming in a 7-0 shutout over Simsbury on Wednesday.
The Blue Knights have outscored their opponents 49-13 during its win streak, with the closest contest coming against Hall in their 4-2 win on Apr. 22.
“One game at a time, that’s always been our motto,” Southington coach Davina Hernandez said. “We don’t ever want to look ahead past any opponent. That’s definitely hurt us in the past. You just can’t overlook anybody. Anything can happen on any given day, so we’re just looking toward our next game and just each week is just to get that one win. That next game on our schedule, that’s our goal.”
A perfect 5-0 record at home has also helped the Blue Knights pile up the wins.
Immediately after its loss to the Lancers, Southington scored 24 runs in its win over South Windsor on Apr. 19. Hernandez credited some simple adjustments for the sudden improvement in the batter’s box.
“We’ve worked really hard on just staying more balanced at the plate,” Hernandez said. “Our timing was really off at the plate in the Bristol Eastern game. We were getting under a lot of balls, we were early on a lot of balls, we didn’t get our bunts down. These are all things we are doing much better now. I think that was the second game of the season, so we’ve come a long way since then.”
The Blue Knights only had one hit in the game against Bristol Eastern, and scored their lone run on a wild pitch after Ashlyn Desaulniers reached base via walk.
Desaulniers, a junior, bats leadoff for Southington and has proved her prowess with the bat. In the win over Simsbury, Desaulniers bashed a triple in the first inning to get the ball rolling for the Blue Knights.
Hernandez added that Desaulniers’ hot hitting has been a constant so far this season.
“She’s been on fire,” Hernandez said. “She’s had a quite a few games with multiple hits. She’s really, really solid for us, very, very, very fast. She gets on base, she walks, today she had a triple in her first at bat. I think she’s had a triple pretty much every game, except the Eastern game.”
In the field, Julia Panarella appears to be Southington’s ace as the senior shut down Simsbury for much of the match on Wednesday. Having a pitcher with Panarella’s capabilities certainly helps the Blue Knights string wins together.
“We have some really good pitchers,” Hernandez said. “I thought Julia looked great [Wednesday] on the mound. I don’t think she gave up too many hits.”
Panarella struck out 14 batters in Southington’s victory.
The Blue Knights are the defending Class LL state champions after beating Norwich Free Academy, 7-6, in 2019. As the No. 6 seed, Southington shocked No. 2 Trumbull, 5-2, in the semifinal round. The Blue Knights earned a 17-3 record en route to the championship.
Fifteen players graduated from the title-winning team, but nine seniors return on this year’s squad.
Southington still has 13 games left before playoffs come around, but look to be figuring itself out in the early goings of the season.
The Blue Knights will visit Avon on Friday at 3:45 p.m.
Ryan Ames can be reached at 860-801-5094 or on Twitter @_RyanAmes.