BRISTOL - Jessica Persechino and Katelynn Oullette sparked the St. Paul softball team in the first inning of the Class S quarterfinal matchup against three-time defending champions Holy Cross but it wasn’t enough as the Falcons fell 7-3 to the Crusaders Saturday afternoon at home.
In the first at bat Persechino ripped a ground rule double and came around to score on a bunt single by Katrina Roy. Then Oullette launched a big home run over the right field fence to give the Falcons the 3-0 lead after one.
“I was really pumped up,” Oullette said. “I just knew what I had to do and I did it. I just wanted to do well.”
Fielding was crucial in the loss, something that had been a problem this season for the young Falcons team.
“We made errors against Windsor Locks to put them back in the game, we made errors against Somers to put them back in the game but as the tournament goes on you can’t keep doing that and expecting to win,” St. Paul coach Gary Hovanessian said. “I can’t say more than that. You can’t give teams runs and expect to win.”
Coming into the season St. Paul didn’t know what to expect this season but went onto post its best regular season record in Hovanessian’s tenure as coach.
“It’s a credit to every kid on this team,” Hovanessian said. “The kids on the bench that cheer their butts off and the kids that are playing, everybody had a role in the great season.”
Abby Poirot started for St. Paul and delivered a strong pitching performance. She struck out 11 and her ability to battle in tough situations was on display in the top of the fourth inning, as she struck out the side with runners on second and third.
“Her performance, and her determination when the chips were down was without a doubt the reason we got this far,” Hovanessian said. “She’s been waiting two years to get her opportunity to pitch behind another great team we had last year. She did well this year and she’s going to do extremely well next year.”
With two outs in the top of the fifth inning and holding a 3-0 lead, second baseman Katrina Roy committed an error, which scored a pair of runs and kept the inning alive.
The Crusaders’ Jenna Mowad delivered a 2 RBI single in the inning to extend the lead to 5-3 and the fifth inning ultimately proved to be the difference in the game.
Persechino, Roy and Carolyn Marchak all had multiple hits in the game for St. Paul. Poirot added a single.
On a day that defense was a problem for the Falcons, freshman Caleigh Mcdougall stood out with her defensive play at third base.
It’s the second consecutive year that St. Paul was eliminated by the Crusaders.
But the Falcons seniors admitted getting this deep was impressive.
“Honestly we weren’t really expecting to get to states,” senior catcher Lindsey O’Bright said. “If we got to states only winning the first round would have been good. So getting this far with a very young team was very good and I was very excited about the season. It just stinks going out this way.”
Dan Orencole can be reached at 860-973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org