No. 8 Amity battles in loss to No. 1 Cheshire
WOODBRIDGE >> The number is 35 and counting. After rolling off 27 wins on its way to a state title a season ago, the Cheshire softball team, ranked atop the Register Top 10 poll, opened the 2017 season with its eighth consecutive victory Monday afternoon.
Despite some sloppy play in the final inning, Cheshire had enough of a cushion to hold off a late rally by Amity, on its way to an 8-5 Southern Connecticut Conference victory at Amity High.
“We just went into the game with a game plan of attacking the pitches and putting the ball in play,” Cheshire coach Kristine Drust said. “We took advantage of some defensive miscues by them.
“It (35 consecutive wins) is something we do not talk about. It is something we are very proud of, something we accomplished together as a team. But, when you start thinking like that, you have two opponents on the field, yourself and the other team. We want to focus on every single day and every single game.”
As all good teams do, the Rams (8-0) took advantage of some costly Amity miscues and turned them into runs in both the second and third innings for a 7-0 advantage. The third inning proved costly for the Spartans as Amity appeared to be headed out of the inning unscathed until the Rams scored four times with two outs.
“We talked about that at practice this weekend, that we cannot give good teams like Cheshire extra outs,” Amity coach Sara Hale said. “Unfortunately, they capitalized on our mistakes.”
The Spartans (6-2), ranked eighth, did not help matters in the third inning, committing three errors.
Leading 3-0, Cheshire’s Brooke Denne reached on an infield single and Mia Juodiatis followed suit. Leadoff hitter Lexi Hemstock reached on an error to score Denne, and Brianna Floyd singled to score Juodiatis and Hemstock for a 6-0 lead. Floyd went to third on an overthrow on the play and scored on a passed ball for a 7-0 lead.
“We play every game like it is a big game,” Juodiatis said. “We do not make any one game more important than another game. We do not get that in our heads. We just keep working hard.”
Cheshire senior pitcher Abby Abramson was the beneficiary of the run support and cruised through the first four innings, not allowing an Amity hit. Abramson had walked just two batters before the start of the fifth inning, when Amity’s Jenna Thomas broke up the no-hitter with a double to center.
With one out, Emily Mullins bounced back to Abramson, who threw the ball away, allowing Thomas to score. After a passed ball advanced Mullins to second, Nicole Koshes singled to center to score Mullins and cut the deficit to 7-2.
“What we are going to take out of this is the fact that we kept fighting,” Hale said. “We gave them a battle at the end. We just have to keep going at it.”
The Rams got one of those runs back in the sixth when Sara Mulligan knocked in a run with a single to left for an 8-2 Cheshire advantage.
The Spartans rallied in the sixth, putting a pair of runners on by way of walks, but Abramson escaped without any damage by striking out Rachael Crow. The Rams then left the bases loaded in the seventh, setting up some dramatics in the bottom half of the inning.
With two outs and one on, Amity’s Aviva Green reached on an error to score one run, and Carly Marchitto doubled to put a pair in scoring position. Brooke Matyasovsky followed with a double to right to plate Green and Marchitto to get Amity within 8-5, but Abramson got Dani Nordyk on a grounder to short to end the game and extend the Cheshire win streak.
“One of the things we focus on is taking it one game at a time,” Abramson said. “We do not worry about our record or how many we have won in a row. At the end of the day, we have to win each game we play.”
Cheshire got on the board first, scoring three times in the second inning. With the bases loaded, Amity pitcher Grace Whitman walked Floyd and Abramson to force in two runs, and Sam Simione’s pop up to first was turned into a sacrifice fly by a hustling Hemstock for a 3-0 lead.
Juodiatis led Cheshire with three hits, while Denne and Floyd each had a pair of hits. Abramson, who walked in all five of her at bats, allowed four hits, while walking five and striking out 12.