Thursday, May 24, 2018

Wolcott softball holds off Oxford in NVL quarterfinal

Wolcott pitcher Nicole Antonowicz winds up as shortstop Marissa Morales
gets ready behind her during Wednesday's NVL quarterfinal against Oxford.
(Copyright, Sports on CT-69)
Fourth-seeded Wolcott softball took advantage of fifth-seeded Oxford's miscues in the first inning, then held on in the final frame for a 3-2 NVL quarterfinal win on Wednesday at Wolcott High School.
The Eagles play top-seeded Seymour today at 6 p.m. at Naugatuck High School in one NVL semifinal. The other is between St. Paul and Watertown and starts at 4 p.m., also at NHS.
Oxford, which had to play its regular season finale earlier in the afternoon on Wednesday, had the tying run on first base with two outs. Wolcott starter Nicole Antonowicz got a fly out to leftfielder Jayda Cavanaugh to end the game.
Antonowicz threw a complete game. She gave up two runs (one earned) on four hits, struck out eight and walked three.
Josie Cammarata had two hits for the Eagles. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69)
The Eagles gave Antonowicz a pair of runs in the bottom of the first inning. Marissa Morales led off with a single, then Madison Rotella bunted her to second. Josie Cammarata laid down another bunt, which turned into a single and runners on first and third. Cammarata took second base with Alexis Boyce at the plate. Morales scored and Cammarata moved to third on a passed ball during Boyce's at bat. After a strikeout, Antonowicz grounded to short but the throw went wild, Cammarata scored and Wolcott had a 2-0 lead.
Oxford stirred up trouble in several innings, including the second. A walk, single and sacrifice bunt put Wolverine runners on second and third with one out, but Antonowicz got back-to-back strikeouts to end the threat.
Molly Sastram doubled home Kaylee Dolan with Oxford's first run in the top of the third inning, but Wolcott got it right back in the bottom frame. Rotella walked to lead off, then advanced to second on a passed ball. A single by Cammarata made it first and third. Cammarata allowed herself to get caught in a rundown between first and second with Boyce at the plate. Rotella raced home well before the throw, Cammarata got back to first, and the Eagles led 3-1. After some good baserunning, Wolcott ran into a double play on a sacrifice bunt and the inning ended.
In the top of the sixth, Sam Kostek blasted a triple the other way to right field with no outs. Pitcher Sage Borkowski walked, but Antonowicz got a pop-up to Boyce for the first out. Jenna Myers did the job for Oxford, however, with a sacrifice fly to center to score Kostek and make the score 3-2. Borkowski, who took second earlier in the Myers at bat, stayed put on the fly ball. Antonowicz reached back and got a called third strike to escape further damage.
Dolan reached on a bloop infield single between the circle and second base with two outs in the seventh, but the Wolverines couldn't get the tying run across and the Eagles moved on to the semifinal round.

GALLERY: Here are my photos from Wednesday's game.

Eagles break sixth-inning tie, beat Hearts in NVL baseball quarterfinal

Wolcott's Jeff Nicol tags out Sacred Heart's Noah Knappe at the plate
during Wednesday's NVL quarterfinal at Wolcott HS. (Copyright, Sports on CT-690
Second-seeded Wolcott baseball scored twice in the bottom of the sixth inning to overtake seventh-seeded Sacred Heart 3-1 in an NVL quarterfinal on Wednesday afternoon at Wolcott High School.
That's the easy explanation.
Here's what transpired: With the game tied 1-1, Wolcott's Trey Nastri reached on an error. Sacred Heart pitcher Hector Alejandro got a called third strike on Nick Longo for the first out, though Longo and Eagle supporters certainly didn't see it that way. Ethan Gillotti singled to make it first and second with one out. Alejandro got another called third strike, this one on Jeff Nicol, for the second out. 
Wolcott's Jack Drewry delivers a pitch. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69)
With first and second and two outs, Tino Ciarlo worked a 3-2 count against Alejandro. On the payoff pitch, Ciarlo checked his swing and was given a walk. Alejandro, catcher Evan Laferriere and head coach Eric O'Toole didn't agree with the call. The Hearts tried to get an appeal from the base umpire. After a short delay, the appeal was made but the call stood.
The Eagles took advantage when the next batter, Dane Hassan, slapped a single to left centerfield, scoring Nastri and Gillotti for a 3-1 lead. Alejandro got Nick Trager to fly out to center to end the inning, but the damage was done.
In the top of the seventh, Wolcott starter Jack Drewry worked around a one-out walk to Jimmy Edwards to seal the win.
Sacred Heart's Hector Alejandro fires away. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69)
Drewry and Alejandro both pitched great games, and they were helped out by some strong defensive plays, with the top two coming in the fourth inning. In the top of the fourth, Alejandro pounded a pitch off the left field wall. Noah Knappe tried to score from first, but a perfect relay from centerfielder Tino Ciarlo to the shortstop Gillotti to the catcher Nicol nailed Knappe at the plate. Sacred Heart led Wolcott 1-0 at the time, so it was a big play.
The Hearts turned an Eagle hit-and-run into a nifty 4-6-3 double play and two outs in the bottom of the fourth. Kyle Barbieri fielded a grounder, which was hit right at him, and quickly fed the ball to Edwards at shortstop. Edwards fired to first baseman Will Witkoski to complete the double play, and the Sacred Heart bench erupted.
Through four and a half innings, a two-out error for a run was the difference between the Hearts and the Eagles. Wolcott finally caught up in the fifth on a two-out bunt single down the third base line by Trager. The bunt scored Gillotti with the tying run.
The Eagles took the lead in the next inning, and held on for the win. Drewry gave up one unearned run on four hits while Alejandro yielded three runs (one earned) on eight hits and struck out eight.
Wolcott will play St. Paul today at 5 p.m. at Municipal Stadium in an NVL semifinal. The other semifinal between Holy Cross and Seymour is scheduled for 2 p.m.

GALLERY: Here are my photos from Wednesday's game.

TOURNEY ROUNDUP: Hale wins single title; Hearts duo takes doubles

NVL singles champion Alex Hale of Wolcott. (Sports on CT-69, file)
The area claimed an NVL boys singles champion and girls doubles champion on Wednesday.
By the end of this afternoon, there will also be a girls singles winner from the area.
Wolcott's Alex Hale didn't drop a set over two matches on his way to the NVL boys singles crown Wednesday at Wolcott High School. Hale beat Watertown's Casey Butwell 6-2, 6-2 in a semifinal match, then took down Woodland's Josh Powanda in the final, 6-0, 6-2. Powanda beat Holy Cross' Dan Huang 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 in the other semifinal.
NVL girls doubles champions Nhi Nguyen (left)
and Alexa Gallino (right), with Sacred Heart
head coach Justin Michaud. (SHHS Athletics Twitter)

In girls doubles, Sacred Heart's Alexa Gallino and Nhi Nguyen also didn't lose a set on the way to the crown. Gallino and Nguyen beat Naugatuck's Brielle Behuniak and Hailey Russell, 6-0, 6-2 in the semifinal, then defeated Woodland's Mia Piccolo and Alanna Carasone in the final, 7-5, 6-1.
The boys doubles title was won by Torrington's Kevin Dixon and Brett Stater. 
The girls singles championship was suspended on Wednesday and will restart today at 3 p.m. at Wilby. St. Paul's Victoria Kilbourne and Wolcott's Edona Bytyqi have each won a set. Bytyqi took the first set via a 6-0 tiebreaker, then Kilbourne responded with a 6-4 victory in the second set.
In the girls singles semifinals, Kilbourne won 3-6, 6-1, 6-1 over Woodland's Amanda Doughney and Bytyqi defeated Holy Cross' Elena Tormo 6-4, 7-5.

Top-seeded Holy Cross rolled to a 14-3 win over eighth-seeded Oxford in an NVL quarterfinal at Holy Cross. John Greene went 3-for-4 with four RBI, and Brian Parzyck finished a homer short of the cycle (three RBI, two runs scored). The Crusaders pitched by committee with Fran Phelan Jr. going the first three innings and taking the win.
Third-seeded St. Paul shut out sixth-seeded Watertown 6-0 behind the pitching of Ethan Rembish and the power of Julian Thayer. Rembish struck out 12 and allowed three hits, and Thayer smacked a two-run homer. Ryan Parent (2 RBI), Ryan Greene (double, RBI, run scored), Josh Cofrancesco (RBI, run scored) and Nick Morrrell (run scored) all had two hits apiece for the Falcons.
Fifth-seeded Seymour upended fourth-seeded Woodland in the other NVL quarterfinal.
Semifinals: Today at Municipal Stadium -- Holy Cross-Seymour, 2; Wolcott-St. Paul, 5

Second-seeded St. Paul won a 9-7 slugfest against seventh-seeded Naugatuck in an NVL quarterfinal in Bristol. Abby Aldieri, Katrina Roy, Lindsey O'Bright and Abby Poirot each had two hits and an RBI for the Falcons. St. Paul fell behind 4-0 after a half inning, but scored six runs in the third to take the lead for good.
Third-seeded Holy Cross had a rough day and lost 7-1 to sixth-seeded Watertown. The same held true for eighth-seeded Sacred Heart, who was ousted 11-2 by top-seeded Seymour. Lizzy Diorio tripled and scored on a throwing error for the lone Crusader run, while Victoria Turnall homered for the Hearts. Erin Keeley and Kaitlynn Keeley also had hits for Sacred Heart.
Semifinals: Today at Naugatuck High School -- St. Paul-Watertown 4; Wolcott-Seymour, 6