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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

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New Canaan beats Trumbull to clinch FCIAC softball playoff berth

Published 11:32 pm, Wednesday, May 21, 2014
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TRUMBULL -- With the FCIAC softball playoff bracket now coming into focus, the likely top seeds -- St. Joseph and Darien -- might be feeling just a tiny bit anxious right now.

Both schools had to notice New Canaan's 11-10 victory over Trumbull Wednesday. The result means defending champion New Canaan clinched an FCIAC playoff berth and stands as the seventh seed with one game remaining in the regular season. Trumbull, meanwhile, had clinched a berth and is currently eighth.

The two teams combined for 26 hits in Monday's slugfest as Trumbull's rally from an 11-3 deficit in the sixth inning fell just short. Both looked like teams nobody would want to face in the playoffs, which begin Tuesday.

"They might be," New Canaan coach Danielle Simoneau said, when asked if she thought second-seed Darien might be feeling uneasy now with a potential matchup with her team looming. The Rams (11-8, 11-6 FCIAC) beat Darien 2-1 earlier and upset the Blue Wave in last year's FCIAC final. "But then again, they might be looking forward to playing us."

Simoneau was referring to the revenge factor. That might work in Trumbull's favor should the Eagles (12-7, 11-6) draw current top seed St. Joseph in Tuesday's quarterfinals. St. Joseph beat Trumbull 6-3 earlier.

"If we play our game, we can beat St. Joe's," Trumbull coach Cary Nadel said. "All I know is if I was another team I'd rather play someone other than us."

The way both teams hit Monday, the top seeds should be on alert. Claire Conley had a single, double and home run and two RBI to lead New Canaan. Jamie Schlim had two hits, including a three-run double in the Rams' six-run, sixth-inning rally. Collette Pellegrini, Rachel Kortman and winning pitcher Ali Reilly each added two hits.

"We haven't been a great hitting team but today we were," Simoneau said. "Trumbull can hit one-through-nine in their order, and so can their bench. They made a great comeback but we never do things easy."

The Rams, who started five freshmen, took a 3-0 lead in the second inning. They led 5-3 going to the sixth and added six more to seemingly put the game away. But Trumbull wasn't ready to wave the white flag.

"I guess it was too little, too late, but these girls never give up," Nadel said. "How often do you see a team come back from eight runs down in the sixth inning? Our kids can hit, that's for sure. Getting less than 10 hits in a game is a rarity for us."

Meg Thaler had three hits, including a home run for Trumbull. Losing pitcher Sam Platz had three hits and two RBI and Taylor Brown had two hits and four RBI.

After scoring three in the sixth, Brown's two-run triple with two outs in the bottom of the seventh brought the Eagles to within 11-10. But she was stranded when Reilly struck out the final batter.

New Canaan 11, Trumbull 10

NEW CANAAN 030 206 0--11 13 1

TRUMBULL 011 103 4--10 13 1

Records: New Canaan 11-8 (11-6 FCIAC),Trumbull 12-7 (11-6). Batteries: NC--Ali Reilly (W) and Molly Keshin; T--Sam Platz (L, 8-5) and Christie Costello. Highlights: NC--Claire Conley three hits, including a home run, and 2 RBI, Jamie Schlim two hits and three RBI, Collette Pellegrini two hits and two RBI, Rachel Kortman two hits and two RBI, Reilly two hits. T--Meg Thaler three hits, including a home run, Platz three hits and two RBI, Taylor Brown two hits and four RBI, Emily Clark and Lauren Zielinski two hits.

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