BRISTOL - The Bristol Eastern softball team jumped out to a double-digit lead in the first two innings and the gap was wide enough to earn the Lancers a 13-6 home win despite a late Northwest Catholic push on Thursday evening. The Lancers had 13 different players get an at-bat in the game and each starter scored at least one run.
“We came out with a job to do today,” Bristol Eastern coach Scott Redman said. “We got a lot of players in there toward the end so that was nice to see.”
Lions pitcher Sam Scott struggled in the circle early, walking Taylor Keegan to lead off the bottom of the first inning and four more batters later in the frame. The Lancers turned two of the walks into runs, while also converting on Jordan Fitzsimons’ single and an error that allowed Alyssa Hackling to reach first safely.
Keegan was able to bat twice in the first, as Bristol Eastern batted around and then some in the first inning on its way to a 4-1 lead.
In the second inning, 13 Lancers batters stepped up to the plate. Makenzie Jankowski started off the bottom of the second by drawing yet another walk off of Scott and Bristol Eastern’s lead was widened to 7-1 by back-to-back triples from Fitzsimons and Mikayla Martin and then a single from Hackling.
Jill Maghini was the beneficiary of Scott’s seventh walk of the game and Lauren Aparo followed her with a single, which forced Northwest Catholic to pull Scott with the bases loaded and none out.
“We didn’t start really the way we wanted to but we capitalized on their mistakes,” Redman said. “We didn’t help [Scott] when she was struggling to find the zone and when she left one over the plate, we really capitalized and hit the ball hard, sometimes, throughout the lineup so that was good to see.”
It was a difficult position for Lexi Smolenski to take over in the circle for the Lions and the first batter she faced was Bristol Eastern pitcher Erin Girard. Helping herself out, Girard drove in both Hackling and Maghini with a single and was driven in, along with Paige McLaughlin, by Fitzsimons’ single in her second at-bat of the inning. Martin also batted twice, hitting her second triple of the inning to make the Bristol Eastern lead 13-1.
But the Lancers could not find the necessary three runs over the next three innings to end the game early. Rather, the Lions clawed their way back into the game enough to extend it the full length. Caela Daly smacked a two-out hit into the outfield in the top of the fourth and it found its way behind the Bristol Eastern fielder. As the ball rolled further and further from the dirt, Daly rounded second and third and reached home for her team’s second run of the game.
The same thing happened in the top of the sixth, but that time, it was Maggie Hoffman with the seeing-eye single that allowed her to round the bases. The Lions had an offensive outburst of sorts in the top of the seventh, scoring three runs on two hits, one of them being a triple from Kayla Midney, but it was too little, too late and the Lancers held on for the win.
Making her fourth start in as many games for Bristol Eastern, Girard pitched five complete innings, giving up three hits and one earned run while striking out eight. The Northwest Catholic batters had difficulty with her pitches all game long and it showed in her stat line.
“Today she mixed pitches really well, which was nice to see,” Redman said. “She had command of almost all of her pitches. She kept their team off-balance and guessing all day.”
Fitzsimons led the way for the Lancers on offense, with three hits and four RBI on four at-bats and three runs scored. Right behind her were Martin - who went 2-for-2 at the plate with the pair of triples, two RBI and two runs scored - and McLaughlin - having gone 3-for-3 at the dish with three singles, two RBI and one run scored.
Josh Kestenbaum can be reached at 860-973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @K_baum30