De­fend­ing champ Ma­suk ad­vances past New­town

The News-Times - - SPORTS - By Ryan Lacey

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.”

LANCERS ROLL

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.

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