Patience finally pays off
WEST HAVEN — The St. Joseph softball team loaded the bases in each of the first two innings Saturday, but managed to push just one unearned run across and left them loaded in both innings.
But the Cadets believed it was just a matter of time before their offense would produce more runs against Griswold in the Class M state championship game.
The ninth- seeded Cadets pushed four runs across in the top of the fourth inning to take a commanding lead and go on to beat No. 3 Griswold 5- 2 at Biondi Field for the program’s sixth state championship.
“We came in with a game plan to make her ( Griswold pitcher Maya Waldron) come into our zone. We got good swings on the ball, had a bunch of opportunities
and we finally broke through,” St. Joseph coach Jeff Babineau said.
It is the program’s first title since 2010. St. Joseph ( 23- 4) has appeared in fourth other state finals.
“It’s rewarding because you work hard for this and your team works hard for this,” senior outfielder Hannah Hutchinson said. “This team has a lot of heart and desire. I had a good feeling about today, I know this is what these girls wanted. They are in a good spot for next year ( just two seniors on the roster).”
Hutchinson, the team’s leadoff hitter, went 3- for- 4, including a triple to start the four- run rally in the fourth. And it all started with two outs.
Madison Fitzgerald, a freshman, drove in Hutchinson with the Cadets’ third run on an RBI single. Griswold shortstop Sarah Aviles then committed an error and pitcher Maya Waldron hit Kaitlin Capobianco with a pitch to load the bases.
Charlee Horton made it 4- 0 when she drove in Fitzgerald on an infield single. Then center fielder Madison LaBossiere dropped a fly ball which would have been the third out, allowing two more runs to score.
“We knew she was quick, had a lot of movement and a good rise ball. We had to be smart and watch the ball,” Hutchinson said.
Three of the runs in the frame were unearned. Griswold committed four errors overall.
“That was definitely uncharacteristic of the way we play,” Griswold coach Rick Arremony said. “That caused Maya to have to get more than three outs in an inning several times and that wore on her. She still battled, kept us somewhat in the game.”
Brittany Mairano scored St. Joseph’s first run in the second inning on another error, this one from second baseman Hailey Bouchard. She reached base on a single, again after Waldron retired the first two batters.
Meanwhile, sophomore hurler Payton Doiron allowed just four hits over the first six innings ( five overall) and struck out six in all. Waldron, who threw a perfect game in the semifinals against North Branford, allowed just one earned run, struck out nine and threw 137 pitches.
Griswold ( 26- 2) attempted a rally in the final inning. Julia Janca singled and Aviles reached on an error with one out. Doiron got the second out before walking Hailey Hill to load the bases.
Kaitlyn Davis singled up the middle to drive in Jania and Aviles. Then Doiron struck out Kamrun Garner- Mims to end the game.
“I call her the cardiac pitcher because she gives me a cardiac arrest every time,” Babineau joked.
Said Hutchinson: “Having a big lead is good, but any team can come back. Until it’s the last out or the last pitch, that’s when you know you are state champions.”
St. Joseph pitcher Payton Doiron and catcher Charlee Horton celebrate after their 5- 2 win over Griswold Saturday.
St. Joseph shortstop Madison Fitzgerald dives for a ground ball during the Cadets’ 5- 2 win over Griswold for the Class M championship on Saturday in West Haven.