BRISTOL - For Bristol Junior All-Star pitcher Alex Sciarretto, the mental approach to softball is just as important as the physical part, especially as the games get more important.
Bristol is headed to the sectional round of tournament play after Sciarretto pitched back-to-back shutouts against New Britain to lead her team to the District 5 championship.
“It’s just all about confidence and staying focused,” Sciarretto said. “Sometimes I have to get a new ball or take a quick breather. I just have to stay focused, and I think I did that [Monday].”
Sciarretto put on one of her best performances of the season, tallying 16 strikeouts, in Monday’s clinching game. She gave up just two hits all game and only allowed two runners to reach scoring position. It was the second consecutive game the pitcher had struck out 16 batters with Bristol winning both games 5-0.
There were also multiple times during the game where Sciarretto came up with crucial strikeouts to end New Britain rallies, including in the fifth inning where she struck out back-to-back hitters after allowing a runner to get to third base. In those pressure-packed moments, Sciarretto said it’s important to remember she isn’t the only one on the field.
“Sometimes I get frustrated with myself,” Sciarretto said. “But I know that I have a team behind me that can help me. I know I have a really strong defense and a really strong offense to back me up.”
For Bristol head coach Barrett Cretella, the success he has seen from his starting pitcher comes as no surprise.
“From softball to school to her personal life to friends, [Alex] puts in 100 percent to whatever she does,” Cretella said. “It doesn’t matter how tough the situation is, she keeps her head on straight. She keeps her composure. She just knows how to play the game and keep calm and not get frazzled. She just doesn’t allow anything to get in her head.”
With this being the All-Star season, it can be tough for players from all different teams to come together for a short season. But Sciarretto believes that the team has gotten along well so far, and it has shown on the field.
“I think this is a great experience,” Sciarretto said. “It’s so fun with all of my teammates. Even though it does go by quick, it does feel like it’s a long season and we have a great time together.”
With Sciarretto on the mound, there is no telling how far Bristol can go in its quest for a state championship. But even she knows it’s going to take quite an effort to get there.
“I’m pretty confident, but I’m going to start working harder because I know the competition is going to get harder too,” Sciarretto said. “So I know I have to step up my game a little bit.”
Tyler Roaix can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org