Kayla Gosselin's heroics lift Foran past Branford
It is difficult to overshadow three individual accomplishments with one swing of the bat, but that’s exactly what Foran High’s Kayla Gosselin did in the Lions’ SCC softball game with Branford High in Milford on May, 24.
Gosselin hit a walk-off grand slam home run in the bottom of the seventh inning to give Foran a 6-2 victory.
In the contest, Fallon Bevino notched her 150th career hit, Dani Kemp her 100th and Jessica Harkness recorded her 50th win in the pitching circle, as the Lions improved to 10-9 and Branford fell to 9-10.
There was less magic but just as much power in the bats on May 25, when Foran completed its regular season with an 8-1 victory at Guilford High (6-14).
Gosselin had three of the Lions’ 14 hits, including a triple, and drove in three runs. Hannah DeSousa had two hits and Bevino had a triple. Harkness struck out nine batters in five innings of work before Ashley Mendillo pitched shutout ball the final two frames.
Prior to the two victories, Cheshire High scored four runs in the top of the seventh inning to snap a 10-10 tie and defeated Foran High, 14-10, in Milford on May, 23.
The Rams (13-4) raced out to a 9-3 lead after two innings in the SCC interdivision contest, before the Lions rallied back to forge a 10-10 deadlock on Gosselin’s fifth-inning sacrifice fly.
But Foran, which committed nine errors in the game, made three untimely miscues in the decisive seventh inning that allowed Cheshire to take control with four unearned runs.
“They are a spirited bunch and we’re good,” Foran coach Jeff Bevino said. “We just have not put a complete game together. I think we made at least nine errors today. You can’t beat a time like that with nine errors, I don’t care who you are.”
Mendillo, who started the game in the circle before being relieved by Harkness — who made her return from a hip injury — led the Lions’ offense with three hits and two runs scored.
Fallon Bevino, Gosselin, Jenna Zacarelli and Natalia Hart added two hits apiece. Fallon Bevino and Hart hit home runs for the Lions.
For Cheshire, Alexa DiLeo homered and drove in three runs. BryAnna McIntosh, Casey Harding and Olivia Odermatt notched two hits and two runs scored each.
“They swing the bat and they swing the bat well,” said Jeff Bevino of the Rams.
Trailing 10-4 heading into the bottom of the fourth, the Lions roared back by pinning five runs on Rams’ starter MacKenzie Juodaitis, knocking her out of the game in the process.
With one out, Mendillo walked and Fallon Bevino belted a two-run home run to left field. Gosselin and DeSousa then drew consecutive walks, before Zacarelli laced a two-run double to the left-center field alley.
That was it for Juodaitis, as freshman Abigail Abramson came on in relief. Hart greeted her with an RBI single to center to get Foran within a run at 10-9.
Abramson skirted further damage by getting an unconventional double play to end the inning. Sophomore Samantha Bennett hit a sharp grounder to McIntosh at shortstop, who threw across the diamond for the second out. Hart, who advanced to second on the throw to the plate following her RBI single, attempted to move to third, but DiLeo snapped a throw back across the diamond to Casey Harding — who tagged out Hart to retire the side.
Harkness relieved Mendillo to start the fifth, working around a lead-off infield hit from McIntosh to set down the heart of Cheshire’s order.
Foran tied the game in the fifth, with Kemp reaching via a one-out single and Mendillo hammering a double to center field.
The Rams intentionally walked Fallon Bevino, with Gosselin’s sacrifice fly knotting the game at 10.
The score stayed that way until the seventh, with Megan Hodgdon’s run-scoring single and three Lion errors leading fueling a four-run uprising.
Prior to that, Cheshire plated four runs in the top of the first, keyed by RBI singles from Harding and Sarah Como and a pair of Lion errors.
Gosselin’s RBI single and a run-scoring groundout from DeSousa halved Foran’s deficit in the bottom of the first, making it a 4-2 game.
Three more Foran miscues resulted in another big inning for Cheshire in the second, with DiLeo crushing a two-run home run. DiLeo added an RBI single in the top of the fourth, pushing the Rams’ edge to 10-4 before the Lions made their push to tie the game.
“I told the girls I can’t be happier with the way they came back,” Jeff Bevino said. “I was a little disappointed early on… They started to get their heads down a little bit… Play the game with some emotion, play the game with some fire. They picked it up and they did that, I couldn’t be prouder of them.”