PLAINVILLE - The Bristol All-Stars put on an offensive clinic all night.
Bristol scored 12 runs in the top of the second inning to pull away from the Berlin All-Stars on their way to a 21-4 win to earn the Connecticut Little League softball District 5 11/12 championship at Gnazzo Field on Monday.
“It feels awesome. The girls played just as I expected them to,” Bristol manager Barrett Cretella said. “They played their hearts out. They’ve had drive the whole year and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
It was the third time in three tournament games that Bristol scored double-digit runs; the team scored 13 in the previous round in a shutout win over host Plainville and beat the same Berlin team 11-3 in the first round of the tournament. In Bristol’s big second inning, 17 batters stepped up to the plate - six of them got hits and five of them drew walks. Bristol’s six hits in the frame came from six different players: Sophia Bouchard, Samantha Sklenka, Alex Sharette, Hannah Webber, Ashley Serafin and Ryleigh Hall.
“Our offense has dominated,” Cretella said. “We’ve got some really strong hitters. They know how to handle the pitches [and] they know how to crank the ball out there.”
The explosive second inning came on the heels of a seven-run first. Berlin’s Hailey Wieczorek threw a strikeout to open the game but the Bristol players did not let that throw them off. They stayed disciplined at the plate and looked off pitches outside the zone. Five Bristol batters drew walks in the inning and four others were hit by pitches, as Bristol scored all seven runs in the inning without a hit.
“We just had an off-day. That’s all it was,” Berlin manager Michelle Wieczorek said. “Our lead pitcher was having an off-day. When that happens, you kind of just fall apart. [But] this score tonight is no indication of what these girls have played like the last two games.”
The first hit of the game came off of a Berlin bat, when Riley Cop got a hold of one of Serafin’s offering and reached first safely with one out in the bottom of the first. But the next two batters could not do the same and Cop was stranded at second.
With Bristol leading 19-0 after the top of the second, Berlin got its bearings. Abby Caliandri led off with a single and Jenna Starosz followed with one of her own. Serafin recorded a pair of strikeouts but Olivia Wojtosik hit into a fielder’s choice - which Bristol’s defense was unable to turn into the third out of the inning - that allowed Caliandri and Starosz to score and break up Bristol’s shutout.
Wojtosik took second on the play, stole third during the next at-bat and then scored on a wild pitch. Shae Bannon drew the only walk Serafin issued in the game and Cop followed with a single to score Bannon for Berlin’s fourth run of the frame.
Berlin followed its best offensive inning with its best defensive inning. In the top of the third, Berlin retired Bristol in order, executing a 1-3, a 5-3 and a 4-3 putout to hand Bristol its only scoreless inning of the game.
After blanking Berlin in the home third, Bristol tacked on two more runs in the top of the fourth. Meredith Valley drew a one-out walk and Hall followed with a single. Valley scored one batter later on Bouchard’s ground-out to second and Hall was driven in by Sklena’s single.
With the win, the Bristol All-Stars are now headed to the sectional tournament and one could say they’re feeling pretty confident.
“You ain’t seen nothing yet,” assistant coach Pete Serafin said with a big smile.
Josh Kestenbaum can be reached at 860-973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @K_baum30