The Southington softball team was recognized as one of the top high school sports programs in Connecticut history by being named an entry in the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference’s All-Time Sports Dynasty Tournament, but its quest to be named the best ever ended on Monday.
The Blue Knights, widely considered to be the undisputed best softball program in the state, made it to the Elite Eight of the CIAC’s tournament, with each round being decided by majority vote. Southington was eliminated by the Cheshire girls swim and dive team, which advanced to the Final Four.
The Rams are certainly one of the most dominant programs Connecticut has ever seen, winning 43 state titles overall, good for the third-most by any team in any sport in state history.
Cheshire won with 54.6 percent of the votes. The tournament overall has accumulated more than 112,000 votes.
The Blue Knights’ recognition as one of the top dynasties in the state, in any sport, is certainly warranted. The program has won a ridiculous 18 state championships, including one back in 2019, its fourth of that decade alone. Southington won four straight state titles from 1985 to 1988, which came shortly after winning three in a row from 1981 to 1983.
The Blue Knights’ pitching was dominant during its first 1980s three-peat, holding opponents scoreless until the state semifinals on its way to the state title in 1982, and followed that up with an unbeaten season in 1983, when the Blue Knights’ pitching staff allowed just two runs the entire season.
Julie Balduc tossed a perfect game to clinch that 1983 championship against East Haven, completing another All-State season where she allowed just one run over 163 innings while striking out 186 batters.
The Blue Knights’ four-peat after missing the state title game in 1984 capped off a remarkable stretch of nine state championships in an 11 year span (which later became 10 in 13 years when they won it all again in 1990). The team went undefeated in 1987, continuing an undefeated streak that reached 52 straight games dating back to 1985, setting a state record that held for 20 years.
The program’s most recent three-peat (2013-15) was the third time in program history that Southington won at least three consecutive state championships, and all three title games came down to the final pitch, including a walk-off home run by Rachel Dube in 2014 over Amity in the 15th inning, in what was one of the most dramatic state championship games in Connecticut history.
Southington’s 18 state titles are the most ever by a softball team in state history, and seven more than the next closest team.
“There are a lot of awesome families in Southington,” Blue Knights head coach Davina Hernandez said in an interview with the CIAC. “I’ve never seen a booster club like what we have. They do so much…a huge part of our success and our legacy is the support we have from our booster club and our parents too.”
The Blue Knights barely made it out of the second round of voting, earning 52.8 percent of the votes over Granby Memorial field hockey, which has won 14 state titles in its illustrious history. Southington won the majority vote over Hillhouse girls indoor track in the first round.
The final teams remaining aside from Cheshire are Danbury wrestling, Fairfield Prep ice hockey and Immaculate girls soccer. Voting for the Final Four begins on Tuesday morning.