Eagles complete fine season in states
The Jonathan Law softball team got the right hitter to the plate at the most crucial point of its season on May 29. Unfortunately, the result wasn’t what the Eagles hoped for.
Battling Sheehan of Wallingford and trailing 2-0 in a Class L first-round tournament game, lead-off hitter Stephanie Peloso came to the plate with two outs and runners on second and third in the eighth inning.
Having already doubled in the first inning, Peloso drove a ball deep to left field. The Titans’ Sarah Pisanelli got a good jump, got her glove on the ball, juggled it, and managed to hold on.
In less than 20 seconds, Law’s season came to an end.
The Eagles entered post-season play with a record of 13-8 and were the 13th seed. Sheehan came in at No. 20, having played .500 softball (10-10) during the year.
The Titans went on to upend fourth-seeded East Lyme 4-2, before losing 4-1 to fifth-seeded Maloney High of Meriden in the quarterfinals.
“It was a very good year for our three seniors (Peloso, Sam Murphy and Jillian Theil),” Law coach Melanie Paolini said.
“They all showed leadership and they all played well today. Our problem was we were just too anxious. We swung at too many bad pitches.
“We made too many mental errors in this game and, when you’re in the tournament, you have to hit.”
The game started on a bright note for Law. Peloso hit an 0-1 offering from Sheehan pitcher Kayla Humphrey inches inside the foul line in left and ended up on second.
With Stephanie Cameron batting, Peloso got a good jump and stole third.
From there, however, the inning went bad. Cameron struck out swinging before Jenna Bernard hit a ground ball to Humphrey’s left. She fielded the ball and threw to first for the out, as Peloso was breaking for the plate.
Maddie Mizenk’s throw arrived at about the same time as Peloso, who, after missing the plate, was tagged out by Mikaeyla trying to get back to it.
Sheehan’s unusual double-play got the Titans out of the inning unscathed.
The Titans then struck for a run in the third. Daddio singled, stole second and eventually scored on a throwing error.
Sheehan scored again in the fifth, as its lead-off hitter Rebecca Souza singled, was sacrificed to second and moved to third on a passed ball.
After Humphrey reached on an error, Mizenk hit a grounder to short and Humphrey was forced at second. Danielle Gray’s relay throw to first was late. Watching the play, Souza broke for the plate and scored.
“We took a few more chances than normal today,” Sheehan coach Jocelyn Chang said. “I have confidence in these kids. We knew in a tournament game you have to do that. Because, if you don’t, and you lose, there are no more tomorrows.”
Law had its share of chances from the fourth inning on. The Eagles left a runner on base in the fourth and a pair each in both the fifth and sixth innings.
Justine Bannon opened the seventh by grounding out, but Murphy doubled to deep center and Gege Romero drew a walk.
Theil entered the game as a pinch hitter (for Erin Saley) and her ground-out advanced the runners.
“Coming into the seventh inning, the last person I wanted to see up there was Peloso,” Chang said. “The top of their order is like dynamite. They can explode at any time.”
Paolini was expecting Peloso to do something.
“She did exactly what she should’ve done,” Paolini said. “She drove the ball hard. Their fielder made a nice catch.”
Bernard, a junior, took the loss for Law. She threw 103 pitches while striking out seven and walking two. Humphrey threw only 64 pitches in earning the win. She only had two strikeouts, but she forced 13 ground-ball put-outs. She also limited Law to just four hits.
The Eagles started their season slowly, winning only four of their first eight games, before taking nine of their next 10. The season turned downhill, though, after a 4-1 loss to Foran. It was the beginning of a four-game losing streak.