Crusaders lose to Falcons in state softball

The Lauralton Hall softball team lost an 8-4 decision to Fitch High of Groton in the Class L state semifinals at Frank Biondi Field in West Haven on June 11.

Jackie Lewis powered the top-seeded Falcons (25-1) with a 3-for-3 performance at the plate. The junior shortstop belted a pair of solo home runs, singled, walked and scored three runs.

Winning pitcher Caroline Taber added a solo home run for Fitch. The Falcons broke the game open by scoring five runs in the bottom of the fourth inning.

For Lauralton Hall, Jackie Brewster doubled twice and drove in two runs. Christianna Cottrell went 2-for-2 with a walk, one RBI and two runs scored for the fifth-seeded Crusaders (21-5).

Fitch went on to capture the Class L state title with a 3-1 victory over Sacred Heart Academy of Hamden on Saturday, June 14.

“They’re a good team,” Crusaders’ coach Amanda Acampora said of Fitch. “They scored early, they scored often. They did what they had to do. We did our best to stay in it and keep fighting back...

“I’m proud of the character they showed, coming back from a seven-run deficit.”

Lewis and Taber staked the Falcons to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first, as they each tagged Lauralton starting pitcher Haley Congdon for a solo home run.

After Congdon struck out the side in the second, Lauralton cut its deficit in half in the third.

Cottrell reached on an infield single, advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored on Brewster’s RBI double to deep center field.

Lewis belted another solo shot in the home half of the frame to make it 3-1.

Fitch upped its margin to 8-1 with a five-run fourth inning. The Falcons scored all of their runs with two outs, with a single by ninth-place batter Cassie Woods starting the deluge.

Congdon then issued three consecutive walks, with a walk to Taber forcing in Woods.

Jayden Delaporta, one of Fitch’s four freshman starters, then hit a two-run single to increase the edge to 6-1.

That was it for Congdon, and Falcon freshman Taylor Wolfgang greeted reliever Kaitlyn Mingione with a two-run double.

Lauralton Hall pulled back a run in the fifth, on Brewster’s RBI groundout. Ireland Miessu walked and scored on a wild pitch in the sixth, while Cottrell yanked an RBI double to left to provide the final scoreline of 8-4.

“We’re not even supposed to be here,” Acampora said. “We started 0-2.

“We’re young, we have a bunch of kids. We don’t have a superstar. It’s the first time in a long time Lauralton Hall doesn’t have that focal player. But they pulled together as a team.”