Thursday, April 19, 2018

Different experiences for young Bristol Eastern, Central softball teams

The Bristol Eastern and Bristol Central softball teams are both young, but they are experiencing different kinds of seasons.
The Lancers are 4-1 after Wednesday's 9-0 win over Berlin at Bristol Eastern High School. Less than 10 minutes away at Casey Field, the Rams were dealt a 17-4 mercy-rule loss by a powerful Middletown offense. Central fell to 2-2 with the loss.
Here's what happened in each game:

Bristol Eastern 9, Berlin 0
Erin Girard, right, and Lauren Aparo, left, helped lead Bristol Eastern
to a 9-0 win over Berlin on Wednesday. (Copyright, Sports on CT-69)

The Lancers used an explosive seven-run fourth inning to turn a 2-0 lead into a 9-0 advantage.
Taylor Keegan doubled with one out to start the rally. Zoe Lowe brought Keegan and herself home with her second inside-the-park home run of the game, which made the score 4-0. Singles by Jordan Fitzsimons and Alyssa Hackling were followed by a bunt from Paige McLaughlin, which scored Fitzsimons. An Erin Girard single loaded the bases, then Lauren Aparo cleared them with a three-run triple to put Eastern ahead 8-0. A grounder from Lyzah Corliss scored Aparo for the final run of the inning.
Girard would have been fine in the circle with the two runs she got before the fourth inning. She fired a three-hitter with nine strikeouts in another solid performance.
Girard, only a sophomore, has been in the circle since she got to Eastern. Fitzsimons is a senior and a key player at the plate and in the field at shortstop. McLaughlin is a junior with plenty of experience.
Here's how the rest of the lineup plays out: 
Keegan, Hackling, Aparo and Corliss are sophomores. Lowe and Riley Gilblin, who doubled and scored, are freshmen.
There are key players, but there must also be a supporting cast. Eastern has a good one, and it's off to a good start because of the whole group.

Middletown 17, Bristol Central 4
Bristol Central's Jenna Ptak led off the bottom of the first inning
with an inside-the-park home run against Middletown on Wednesday.
(Copyright, Sports on CT-69)

The Rams fell behind by a run after the first half inning, but they got a loud response from junior Jenna Ptak.
Ptak launched a ball into the left centerfield gap and didn't stop running until she hit the plate and tied the game with an inside-the-park home run. Ptak was a strong hitter as a sophomore and made the All-Blue Division team in the CCC's South Region. Junior Kayla Beaulieu was also All-Blue Division last season.
Central was able to respond to Middletown's first punch, but the Blue Dragons hit back with way too much offense for the home team to overcome. Middletown pounded out three home runs, two triples and one player had two doubles by herself.
Central has its own sophomore pitcher in Peyton Greger, but she is gaining experience on the go, and that isn't always easy. Greger was a backup to senior Ali Holden last season, and this is her first season being the main arm. Greger has seen success this season, like her varsity win, a 11-2 triumph over Plainville last Saturday where she struck out 10.
The only seniors on the team are Sierra Reed and Xia'ian Carrasco.
It was a tough day for Central, but there will be better days ahead. The Rams are hard-working, and they have the will to succeed.

Bristol Eastern: Click here to see photos from the game.
Bristol Central: Click here to see photos from the game.

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