Pa­tience fi­nally pays off

Connecticut Post (Sunday) - - Sports - By Joe Morelli

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.”

Cather­ine Aval­one / Hearst Con­necti­cut Me­dia

St. Joseph pitcher Pay­ton Do­iron and catcher Charlee Hor­ton cel­e­brate af­ter their 5- 2 win over Gris­wold Satur­day.

Cather­ine Aval­one / Hearst Con­necti­cut Me­dia

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.

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