SOUTHINGTON – Southington softball secured a spot in the Central Connecticut Conference championship game with its 13-5 win over Bristol Central on Friday.
The second-ranked Blue Knights were powered by sophomore Sam Rogers’ hot bat as the number three hitter registered six RBIs against the No. 6 Rams, including a grand slam during the third inning.
“Sam comes up with big hits in big games,” Southington coach Davina Hernandez said. “She’s definitely a gamer. Sam works really hard on her fundamentals and I thought she had really quality at-bats. She worked the count and picked out the right pitches and that makes a big difference against the two pitchers that we faced because they’re really good pitchers, both of them.”
Bristol Central ace Alex Sciarretto never appeared to get comfortable on the mound as the sophomore surrendered 10 runs in 3 1/3 innings of work. Sophia Torreso pitched the rest of the game for the Rams and allowed the final three Blue Knights runs.
Southington was smashing everything in sight as it finished with 13 hits, led by Rogers, who recorded a RBI single and RBI double to go along with her grand slam.
Blue Knights catcher Kaitlynn Griffin was dangerous in the six spot for the hosts as No. 21 nailed a pair of doubles in her two at bats. Dominique Gaudio also swung well for Southington, finishing with a RBI double and two singles.
“I was really happy definitely with the bats today, they came alive,” Hernandez said. “We’re trying to work some of our younger pitchers in the lineup, just to prepare us for the state tournament. We know Julia [Panarella] has been solid all year long. Overall, I thought we had contributions from different parts of the lineup, we had some good bunts, timely hitting, I was really happy with how they played.”
Junior Samantha Sullivan got the nod on the mound for the second straight game and shut the door once again for the Blue Knights, giving up just two runs on two hits while fanning six Rams batters in five innings pitched.
Freshman Maddie Furniss faced some desperate Bristol Central batters during the sixth inning and allowed three runs, before sophomore Stella Blanchard closed out the game for Southington in the last 1 1/3 innings.
“I thought we showed a lot of fight there in the last couple innings, which I thought was good,” Rams coach Monica Hayes said. “We can carry that into the state tournament, knowing that we didn’t give up. We put some runners on base, we scored some runs.
“I thought it was a great experience win or lose, that’s a tournament type game no matter when in the season, when you play Southington, you’re going to get a tournament type of experience,” Hayes said. “I thought that was beneficial and we’ll definitely be able to use that moving forward and learn from today.”
Bristol Central’s trio of runs in the sixth was the most it scored in any inning, after plating one in the first and fourth innings.
Sophomore Lorelei Stancavage was responsible for half of the Rams’ six hits, including a triple and double through the middle portion of the contest.
“I thought that she did a fantastic job against some great pitching,” Hayes said. “Every single pitcher they threw out there, she had something to say about it. She put up a great at bat every single time, she’s been doing that all year long. She was really impressive today against the depth of Southington’s pitching, I was really impressed.”
Friday’s victory makes it 20 in a row for the Blue Knights and their confidence is at an all-time high this season.
“It’s nice to have some of the younger kids go in there and not miss a beat and just keep the flow of the game going,” Hernandez said. “I definitely like that we’re playing in a conference tournament. It’s good to have games against good pitchers and good teams.”
Southington (21-1) will square off against No. 4 Enfield in the CCC title game Saturday. However, inclement weather may push the game to Monday.
Ryan Ames can be reached at 860-801-5094 or on Twitter @_RyanAmes.
Southington 13, Bristol Central 5
Bristol Central 100 103 0 -- 5 6 2
Southington 316 120 x -- 13 13 0
W -- Samantha Sullivan (S); L -- Alex Sciarretto (BC)
GS: Samantha Rogers (S); 3B: Lorelei Stancavage (BC); 2B: Kaitlynn Griffin 2 (S), Dominique Gaudio (S), Rogers (S), Stancavage (BC)
Records: Southington (21-1), Bristol Central (15-4).