Milford softball wins Section I title

Milford, the Section I champions, earned every part of the banner and the traditional lap with it around the field after its 9-4 eight-inning victory over Fairfield in the title game at Robert F. Stankye Memorial Field on Wednesday night.

Madison Bull slugged a three-run triple to key Milford’s five-run rally in the top of the eighth inning.

This time, a big lead held up.

Fairfield, shut out through five trips to the plate, came to bat in the bottom of the sixth inning and powered four runs across to force extra innings.

“We knew Fairfield was a great team and that’s what makes this special,” Milford manager Scott Worzel said. “This game had everything you could want, and we were proud to be a part of it.”

Milford advances to play the Section II winner on Friday in Durham. Fairfield had defeated Wilton 2-1 to earn a spot in the title tilt.

Fairfield’s Ari Kedersha and Lauren Foley (RBI) had singled to open the rally. Alyssa Russo single past third base made it 4-2, before Kim Fazio smacked a two-run single to center. Talia Salanto, who had come in relief for Bull with one run across, left the bases loaded.

Russo returned the favor in the top of the seventh, when Alex Lewey made a fine catch in left field to leave the bags full.

Rules dictate that the last out from the previous inning take second base to start the eighth inning.

Haley Stroffolino took her place and was safe at third on Avery Falco’s bunt. After Angie Robinson walked to load the bases, Gabby Mercado came in to pitch. Judy Tarczali walked to bring a run in and snap the tie.

Bull then hit a long drive that one-hopped the fence in left to break the game open. She was safe at home on Salanto’s fielder’s choice grounder to take the score to 9-4.

Paige O’Neill took second for Fairfield in the bottom of the eighth. Bull, now at shortstop, threw out the next two batters. Teagan Garfield fielded a grounder to the right side and tossed to Tarczali for the third out.

Milford scored three runs in the second inning. Grace Hess led off with a double and Falco added a single. The rest of the offense came from Milford’s ability to extend at bats by fouling off good pitches and drawing walks.

Russo shut Milford down the next four innings without a hit, allowing only a walk.

Bull was best at keeping damage to a minimum, as she allowed more than one runner aboard in only one inning. That came in the third when Lewey and Maggie Swanson singled. Bull got an out at third on a grounder and Kelsea Flanagan made a great play on a foul ball to end the inning.