South Wind­sor’s Hanchuk shuts out Dan­bury

The News-Times - - SPORTS - By Ryan Lacey [email protected]­n­new.com, twit­ter.com/ryan­lacey11

SOUTH WIND­SOR — Her day started with a phe­nom­e­nal ac­com­plish­ment, and a field trip to Hol­i­day Hill to boot.

The rest didn’t go too bad, ei­ther.

South Wind­sor se­nior Maria Hanchuk added state Ga­torade Player of the Year to her tremen­dous ac­com­plish­ment list, then fired a twohit shutout to lift the topseeded Bob­cats past No. 16 Dan­bury 4-0 in the sec­ond round of the Class LL tour­na­ment Thursday. South Wind­sor ad­vanced to the quar­ters for a sec­ond straight year and will meet No. 8 NFA there Fri­day.

The Bob­cats were off since their reg­u­lar-sea­son fi­nale May 23, but got back into rhythm Thursday. South Wind­sor scored three times in the third to give Hanchuk the ad­van­tage.

“Get­ting the first one was huge,” said South Wind­sor coach Mandy Rocz­niak. “We’ve had to wait to play with get­ting that bye; with hav­ing the record we’ve had peo­ple are look­ing at us a lit­tle more. Get that first one and ex­hale.

The Hat­ters com­mit­ted a pair of er­rors in the frame which help the hosts plate their runs. Me­gan Le­May drove in two runs for South Wind­sor (21-0). That was plenty for Hanchuk, who struck out 11 bat­ters.

“Around the fifth in­ning I knew it was the top of their lineup and the third time up,” Hanchuk said. “I could tell by their swings and per­son­al­i­ties that they were good hitters. They made hard con­tact; the sixth and sev­enth was more con­fi­dence-boost­ing.”

By virtue of play­ing in the FCIAC, the Hat­ters had seen sim­i­lar speed from St. Joseph and Trum­bull, but we’re un­able to cap­i­tal­ize on the few chances they had. Dan­bury drew two straight walks to start the sec­ond and had a chance to rat­tle the hosts, but Hanchuk re­tired three straight.

Sopho­more Ke­na­dine Gon­za­lez belted a solo home run for the Bob­cats in the fifth that’s in­ning. Hat­ters fresh­man Ha­ley Pucci struck out four of the six bat­ters she faced to close out the game.

“You knew it was go­ing to be a tough game com­ing up here,” said Dan­bury coach Shawn O’Brien. “She’s the Ga­torade Player of the Year; I thought the kids late in the game re­ally bat­tled.”

OUSTED

The Hat­ters won their state opener for the first time since 2015 time out, as a 10-2 win over New­town booked their trip across the state. It was a rel­a­tive free roll for Dan­bury, which en­joyed the long trip along I-84.

“That kind of makes the sea­son,” O’Brien said. “Be­ing able to come up here and com­pete with one of the best teams in the state; the kids were re­ally ex­cited to come up here. We knew we were up against a tough op­po­nent. It was a great at­mos­phere.”

PLAYER OF THE GAME

Maria Hanchuk, South Wind­sor: Will have a chance to send the Bob­cats to a No. 1 over­all rank­ing by sea­son’s end.

QUOTABLE

“It’s hon­estly a lot of pres­sure,” said Hanchuk of the Bob­cats’ un­blem­ished mark. We have to live up to that, which we have been but to us we don’t want to let the peo­ple and our school down. We’ve been work­ing for this for so long be­cause we’re a se­niorheavy team.” SOUTH WIND­SOR 4, DAN­BURY 0

DAN­BURY ............................. 000 000 0 — 0 3 3 SOUTH WIND­SOR ................ 003 010 x — 4 5 0 Bat­ter­ies: D—El­iz­a­beth Crox­ford, Ha­ley Pucci and Tri­nadey San­ti­ago; SW—Maria Hanchuk and Lib­erty Wells.

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