New Canaan softball team falls in tough road game at St. Joseph
TRUMBULL -- Danielle Simoneau figured the St. Joseph High softball team was loaded again with heavy hitters this season. So Wednesday the New Canaan coach threw the Cadets a curveball by starting a different pitcher than the one the Cadets were expecting.
Sound strategy. But Simoneau and her team soon discovered the potency of this St. Joseph offense. While NC starter Ali Reilly pitched well, retiring 11 of the final 12 batters she faced and striking out 11, it wasn't enough. Kristen Chacho's three-run homer in the first inning would be all that the Cadets needed in a 4-2 Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference victory.
"They had seen (Cydney Ventura) pitch the last three times we played them," Simoneau said. "So I figured let's give them something different."
The Cadets (3-2, 2-1 FCIAC) had scored three runs or less in two of their first four games, but took all of four batters to get to three Wednesday. After New Canaan (3-1, 2-1) took a 1-0 lead on an unearned run in the top of the first, Reilly walked Samantha Platz and the always dangerous Jenn Vazquez followed with a single before Chacho ripped a three-run homer.
With freshman pitcher Nicole Williams -- two hitter; eight strikeouts -- on the mound for St. Joseph, the three runs would be enough.
"They have a good hitting team, it's not just Jenn," Simoneau said. "Their whole lineup is so tough. (St. Joseph coach Jeff Babineau) does a phenomenal job with them. They hadn't seen (Reilly) before but they adjusted so well to her."
St. Joseph was expecting to see Ventura for the fourth straight time Wednesday.
"We just do what we have to do," Babineau said. "We can hit and we can go deep."
Chacho had a hand in the Cadets' fourth run when she doubled down the left field line with one out. Victoria Ceballos followed with an RBI single making it 4-1.
After two St. Joseph errors led to New Canaan's first run, Williams took a no-hitter and a 4-1 lead into the sixth. But the Rams ended Williams' no-hit bid when Ventura lined a one-out single. On Jordan Ventura's ensuing single, a couple of errant and unnecessary throws on the play led to a second unearned run and completed the scoring.
But the story would not be complete without praising Reilly. Over the last 3 2/3 innings, the junior allowed only a fourth-inning single to Amy Chacho. Reilly struck out five in that time and only two balls reached the outfield.
"That was Ali's first game against St. Joe's and once she settled down she threw it real well," Simoneau said.
ST. JOSEPH 4, NEW CANAAN 2
NEW CANAAN 100 001 0 2 2 1
ST. JOSEPH 301 000 x 4 7 4
Records: New Canaan 3-1, 2-1 FCIAC, St. Joseph 3-2, 2-1 FCIAC).
Ali Reilly (L) and Jordan Ventura; Nicole Williams (W) and Jenn Vazquez. 2B: NC--none; SJ--Katie Gardella, Kristen Chacho; 3B: none. HR: SJ--Chacho.
Highlights: NC--Reilly 11 strikeouts; SJ--Chacho 2 hits, 3 RBI, Victoria Ceballos 2 hits; Williams 2-hitter, 8 strikeouts.