By KEN MORSE
The Plainville softball team is learning to compete. The Blue Devils battled Innovation last Tuesday and fell in extra innings by a 7-6 final. The following day, Plainville played its first game of the season without a fielding error and took it to Avon by a 12-5 count improving to 3-5 on the season.
The Blue Devils were in a tight game with Avon last Wednesday holding a slim 2-1 edge when they erupted for five runs in the bottom of the fourth to take a commanding lead.
Mackenzie Alvarado was helped out in the pitchers circle as the defense played their first game of the season without an error in the field. Alvarado went on to pitch a seven inning complete game surrendering nine hits striking out seven for the win.
Kori Jones provided a couple of timely at bats driving in two runs for the Blue Devils as Plainville added two runs in the fifth and three more in the sixth to put the game in the win column.
“We took a step forward today and looked like a softball team,” said Plainville head coach Scott Marcucio. “I’m so proud of these girls they don’t give up and play till the final out.”
Plainville is a young team that doesn’t always match up well against some opponents as they have lost by wide margins to (7-0) Maloney by a 21-4 final and a 17-4 loss to (6-0) East Hartford. But when they match up against opponents the Blue Devils are in it till the end.
Against Innovation last Tuesday, the Blue Devils battled back from a two run deficit in their final at bat to tie the game sending it to extra innings. Plainville fell by a 7-6 eighth inning outcome but had the tying and winning runs on base when the last out was made.
“There are still some things we need to work on,” said Marcucio. “We do well in some spots and then we make an error or two and it ends up costing us.”
Innovation plated single runs in each of the first three innings but Plainville showed their resiliency scoring twice in the first inning and two more times in the second.
Kayla Wisz (3 for 4, 2 runs) and Makayla Caron both came around to score in the first on a two run double from Annie Roux (3 for 4, 3 RBI). After Innovation tied the game the Blue Devils got the lead back in the bottom of the second with Makenzie Caron and Makayla Caron scoring on RBI’s from Alyssa Roy and a ground rule double by Alvarado.
Innovation closed the gap at 4-3 tacking on another run in the third. Wisz surrendered 13 hits but used nine strikeouts to keep Plainville out in front. The Ravens took over the lead plating two runs in the fifth but the Blue Devils got out of further damage when third baseman Kaycee Newberry got the tag down on a relay throw from Roux in centerfield for the final out.
Plainville squandered opportunities stranding runners at first and third in the third inning and second and third in the fourth. A couple of errors in the seventh inning opened the door for the Ravens to extend the advantage at 6-4 with Plainville coming to bat for the last time.
Since the first game of the season, the Blue Devils have learned to compete and that showed when they pushed across two runs to tie the game and send it to extra innings.
Alvarado reached on an error to get it started and scored on a double from Roux. Mikayla Doucette came through with a two out single that scored Roux to tie the game at 6-6.
Plainville cut down a runner at the plate in the eighth on a perfect relay from left fielder Kaylie Hall to shortstop Kaylee Lamothe with catcher Makayla Caron getting the tag down.
The Ravens managed to score the go-ahead run on a double from Kaylee Dobransky for the 7-6 final margin.
With two outs and no one on in the bottom of the frame the Blue Devils put the tying and winning runs on base. Makayla Caron belted a double and Alvarado who already had two doubles was intentionally walked.
Lamothe came up and turned in a gutsy at bat fouling off six straight two strike pitches before sending a deep fly to left that was hauled in for the final out. In spite of the loss Plainville did show a clear indication that they are learning to compete.
“We talk about executing on offense and defense,” said Marcucio. “It comes down to making all the routine plays and not throwing the ball around. Today we gave them five extra outs leading to four runs and that was the difference in the game.”
“This was one of those painful growing steps. Hopefully a game like this will light a little fire under us. We didn’t give up and battled through all the adversity and that’s a sign we are moving in the right direction.”
The Blue Devils are back at it this week taking on Bulkeley on Monday and Enfield on Tuesday and will finish out the week at home hosting Terryville on Wednesday and New Britain on Friday with both game slated for 7 p.m. starts.