Defending champ Masuk advances past Newtown
STRATFORD — The team to beat marches on.
Now seven innings away from a SWC three-peat, the Masuk softball team advanced to Thursday’s final behind a 14-0 win over Newtown at DeLuca Field.
The No. 2 team in the GameTimeCT Top 10 Poll improved to 21-1 behind another commanding performance from Sam Schiebe and more than enough help from her lineup. Schiebe yielded just five hits in the win.
“We’re super-focused,” Bunovsky said. “It’s silly to say but we focus on staying focused a lot. We always talk about no matter what game we’re going to have all ouor attention on scoring first and playing the best we can.”
The game was a rematch of last year’s final — won by the Panthers 6-0. The Nighthawks were the last SWC team to defeat Masuk, a streak that has now reached two years. Schiebe and Meg McFarland each had three hits at the plate for the top seed.
Bunovsky will play her summer ball with the Brakettes before heading to Yale, and appeared to feel right at home with DeLuca Field on Tuesday. She hit a shot to center that scored two runs in the second that built a 4-0 advantage, then drove in another two with a single as part of a five-run
fifth inning as Newtown switched pitchers
“Each of them had a slightly different speed and one had a good changeup I had to lay off a few times,” Bunovsky said. “I was just looking for good pitches to drive up the middle.”
Newtown had a pair of chances to score with the game close — in the second and third innings with two runners on each time — but Schiebe ended each threat with a strikeout. Masuk scored nine times in the fifth and sixth innings to put an exclamation point.
“I think we knew at this point they wanted us,” Masuk coach Leigh Barone said. “We beat them twice already and especially in a tournament, and I think they came off pretty strong. They were making plays in the field and put the ball in play. They stuck in there for a while.”
It was a similar trend in the nightcap where the second-seeded Lancers upended No. 6 New Milford 6-0 to book a date with the Panthers. Bri Brown threw a two-hitter as the Lancers pounded out 14 hits.
The hardest of those was smashed by sophomore MacQuarrie Stone-Folmar, who is taking the state by storm in her first year at the school. She belted a solo home rub in the fourth — her state-leading 18 in 22 games — to make it 4-0.
Meredith McDonald homered twice for the Lancers, who left the bases loaded twice in the first three innings. It didn’t matter.
A remarkably young ND squad got out to a blistering start before running into several hurdles midway through the season. Another shot at Masuk — which beat the Lancers 8-1 during the regular season — awaits Friday at 6 p.m., back at DeLuca Field.