By KEN MORSE
The Plainville softball team has learned quite a few lessons from head coach Scott Marcucio over the past few seasons in their pursuit to get back to the state tournament. One key lesson is to not throw in the towel no matter what the outcome may look like.
That lesson served them well last Monday against East Catholic in a come from behind, 14-8 win. Three times against the Eagles the Blue Devils had their backs to the wall and all three times they rose to the occasion.
Trailing 1-0 in the first inning Plainville plated two runs to take over the lead. Down 3-2 in the third the Blue Devils again rallied for three runs to take a 5-3 advantage. With the game tied at 5-5 in the bottom of the fifth Plainville erupted with a five run outburst.
East Catholic closed the gap at 10-8 in the sixth before the Blue Devils put it away coming up with a four run outburst on their way to victory. Plainville improved to 5-5 on the season.
Annie Roux (3 hits, 2 RBI) and Mackenzie Alvarado (1 hit, 2RBI) scored in the first inning on an error and walk to Kaycee Newberry with the bases loaded. A lead off double in the third from Makayla Caron, an infield hit by Kaylee Lamothe (2 hits, 2 RBI) and a bunt single off the bat of Makenzie Caron loaded the bases.
All three came around to score on an error, a wild pitch and walk with the sacks full to put Plainville back on top 5-3. East Catholic continued to chip away scoring single runs in the fourth and fifth inning to tie the game at 5-5.
“We just wanted this game,” said Roux who has been delivering big hits all season. “A game like this really helps our confidence and we feel we will get those last few wins to make the state tournament.”
Alvarado continued to work out of jams in the pitchers circle behind a defense that was making the plays recording 15 outs out of the 18 balls hit in the infield.
Plainville even got a lucky break when a ball bounced off the top of Lamothe’s glove at second base into the glove of hard charging centerfielder Roux to end the fourth stranding a runner at third.
“It got a little close there at the end,” said Alvarado. “But we have so much confidence in each other. It felt great to come out of this game with the win.”
The Blue Devils got something started in the bottom of the fifth when Makayla Caron drew a walk and Newberry was hit by a pitch. A wild pitch put the runners in scoring position when Shai Durham broke up the tie game on bunt single.
An error and walk loaded the bases before Alvarado lifted a sacrifice fly to left to score Durham. With two outs and two strikes on the batter Lamothe reached out and connected with a pitch on the outside corner driving it to the fence in left center for a stand up double plating two more runs.
“That was pretty exciting,” said Lamothe who was down to her final strike. “I think we have grown as a team. It wasn’t just one player it took all of us to pull this out.”
The Eagles trailed 10-5 in the sixth but erupted with a three run outburst to close the gap at 10-8. With runners at the corner and the tying run at the plate Alvarado induced a ground out to second to retire the side.
Plainville came up in the bottom of the sixth and proceed to ruin a couple of good softballs. Grace DiMinno singled to lead it off and Samantha Thompson came on to pinch run. Durham worked out a walk and the table was set.
Roux followed and unloaded on an RBI double to left. Kayla Wisz sent a blast to the base of the fence in center for a run scoring triple. The fireworks just started as Alvarado ripped into a run scoring double and by the time East Catholic got the final out it was a 14-8 Plainville lead.
“I haven’t had a big hit like that in a while,” said Wisz who two innings earlier was thrown out at third trying to get into scoring position. “There is just no giving up on this team. We hang in there and we battle till the final pitch.”
Alvarado made quick work of the Eagles in the seventh with three up and three down to put the game in the win column for the comeback kids.
Plainville moved another game closer to reaching the state tournament securing win number six last Tuesday outlasting East Hartford by a slim 10-8 margin. The Blue Devils put up an insurance run in the seventh after East Hartford closed to within 9-8 in the sixth inning.
Wisz went 4 for 4 with 3 runs scored. Alvarado had 3 hits, 2 runs and 3 RBI. Newberry and Makayla Caron both had 3 hits, a run and an RBI.
The Blue Devils fell short on Friday 4-3 to New Britain and now stand at 6-6 on the season needing two more wins over the last eight games to reach the post season for the first time since 2014.
Makayla Caron and Wisz blasted home runs for Plainville and the Blue Devils battled back to tie the game at 3-3 in the top of the seventh before New Britain scored the walk-off win.
Plainville is at Platt on Monday this week and will host Middletown on Wednesday finishing up the week with a 6pm showdown with Bulkeley on Friday.