BRISTOL - After his team had started the season 2-0 by putting 40 runs on the board and racking up 40 hits, Scott Redman was champing at the bit for what was supposed to lie ahead.
The Bristol Eastern softball team’s head coach walked away disappointed.
After cruising past Northwest Catholic and Plainville to start the season, the Lancers were set for back-to-back high-profile matchups against defending Class LL state champion Amity on Saturday and a clash on Tuesday with Southington, which went unbeaten and garnered the No. 1 seed before falling to Amity, 6-5, in last season’s semifinals.
The matchup with Amity, however, was canceled due to weather. And on Tuesday, in a game originally scheduled for Monday before being pushed back due to rain, the Lancers defeated Southington 3-2 in anticlimactic fashion.
The Blue Knights scored three runs in the sixth to take a 5-3 lead. But after Bristol Eastern put runners on first and second with one out in the bottom half, the rain started to fall heavily, and the umpires called the game off.
“That’s not how you wanna win,” Redman said. “You wanna beat Southington by having to revert back to the last inning after they took the lead? No.”
Adding to the frustration was the optimism that Tuesday’s game would be completed without issue after it had already been called off.
“We went back and forth all day [Tuesday] between our administrators and [Southington’s] administrators,” Redman said. “At one point, we canceled it. Five minutes later, [Southington head coach Davina Hernandez] texted me saying she just looked at the radar and it wasn’t supposed to rain until like 6. Literally an hour earlier, it was supposed to pour at 4:30. We made the decision to try and start early, which we did not do. That didn’t help.”
It’s nothing new for the Lancers (3-0) or anyone else in the area to have games canceled or halted due to the weather. It comes with the territory.
“Welcome to the northeast,” Redman said. “You better go down south to play in college because it’s gonna be like this if you stay here. It is what it is. It’s part of playing in our region at this time. Every year it’s like this. We played other teams last year in the same way. We played good teams, and we think we’re a pretty good team. You’re in 11-10 games early in the season, and those games are 2-1 later in the year.”
Starting pitcher Erin Girard had a tough time getting going early, as the two-time All-State hurler had to make adjustments after surrendering two runs in the first inning.
“She couldn’t find it,” Redman said. “She basically had to take one or two pitches out of her arsenal in the first couple innings. She just couldn’t feel her hand. By no means am I making any excuses for her. Like I told her, ‘Find a way.’ You play in the northeast.”
After being excited to see how his group would stack up against the state’s best, it’s hard for Redman and company to glean much from the past few days.
“The elements played a role, for sure,” Redman said. “No one’s at their best in these conditions. Softball’s not supposed to be played in 40-degree weather. Both pitchers struggled to find their grip and throw their ‘A’ stuff, so you don’t see the high end of what they’re capable of.”
The Lancers were noticeably off their game, making several uncharacteristic mistakes - including two official errors - that need to be corrected moving forward.
“I think maybe one of [the mistakes was weather related]. But I think, early especially, we were a little tight. We didn’t play like ourselves. We just played a little tight and nervous,” Redman said. “[It was] the first big game of the year with a level playing field - a good opponent that’s on a good, level playing field with us. We just kind of played nervous and kicked the ball around a little bit.”
Zack Carpenter can be reached at (860) 973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org