BRISTOL – One inning changed the complexion of Bristol Eastern softball’s game against Southington on Wednesday. Luckily for the Lancers, it worked out well for them.
Pitcher Alison Tellier took some time to find a rhythm as she walked three of the first four Blue Knights batters of the game in the top of the first inning, allowing the visitors a golden chance to run away with the game early.
After hitting the fifth batter of the inning and already trailing 1-0, it looked grim for Bristol Eastern.
But then Tellier struck out Nicole Greco and got Kaitlynn Griffin to fly out, ending the threat for the Lancers.
“I think just realizing that I have to take it and the mindset of I have to get the outs and kind of help my team out and I think that was really it,” Tellier said on the adjustment she made early on.
“We were up against it, top of the first inning bases loaded, we could’ve folded right there, [but we] held them to one run, which was obviously huge,” Lancers coach Scott Redman said. “[You have to] to tip your cap to Ali, who kind of bared down in the circle, only holding them to that one run and one hit.”
Bristol Eastern proceeded to score three runs in the fourth inning to take the 3-1 win.
A junior, Tellier is being forced to adjust to the varsity game quickly as this is her first season on the top squad. Already with two starts on the year, it’s been an up-and-down beginning to Tellier’s 2021 season.
On Saturday, Berlin crushed Bristol Eastern, 11-1, as Tellier allowed 12 hits, including an inside-the-park homerun, in her first career varsity start.
A similar performance looked likely Wednesday, but Tellier refocused and looked locked-in the rest of the contest to lead her team to its first win.
“I told the girls, it was a gritty performance by everybody, specifically her,” Redman said. “She could’ve kind of folded there, but she took a deep breath, centered herself and really just fought the whole game.
“You don’t get a batter off against Southington, one through nine they can hit, so if you fall asleep for an inning you can give up a crooked number really quick,” Redman said. “The fact that we held them to one that inning, she got a big strikeout there, holding them to one, then holding them blank the rest of the way in unbelievable.”
Starting the season 1-1 is much different than 0-2 and given the nature of the competition the Lancers beat, they’re feeling confident moving forward.
“Southington is a good team and we always, I know in the past, that’s one we want to beat and I think us coming together, we’re a younger team and I think winning this game is really going to help us the rest of the season,” Tellier said.
Wednesday’s win also showed that Bristol Eastern can put the tough losses behind them, which is a good sign for a fairly young team like the Lancers.
“It’s hard to have that kind of start to the year and to get them to refocus at practice and especially with who we had on deck, that was a challenge,” Redman said. “I got to applaud the girls, they came and they practiced really well.”
Ryan Ames can be reached at 860-801-5094 or on Twitter @_RyanAmes.