beat Killingly
The Killingly Redgals were a thorn in the side of The Woodstock Academy softball team last season.
The Centaurs lost in both games to their rivals by a run.
It was something that coach Jay Gerum reminded his team of just before the game started April 13.
“We wanted this one so bad,” said senior outfielder Naomi Rivard. “Killingly has always been a big rival for us. “To have this win puts us in a comfort zone at the beginning of the season- we’re ready for anyone now.”
So Rivard and her teammates were more than happy when they posted a 13-4 win over Killingly in the first game of the season played at the Bentley Athletic Complex.
The Centaurs (2-2, 1-2 Eastern Connecticut Conference Division II) were coming off a 7-3 loss April 12 to Montville in a game where the bats went flat.
“The focus (Friday) was that we were playing another pitcher (Killingly’s Ashley Veillette) as good as (Montville’s Alexis Michon) and we needed to wake the bats up. We did,” Gerum said.
It took three innings to do so.
The Centaurs jumped out in front in the second inning when Maia Corrado doubled and pinch-runner Hannah Wotton scored on a single by Hannah Chubbuck.
But Killingly (2-2 0-2) tied the game in the top of the third as it took advantage of two infield errors and pushed across a run on a single by Lexi Faucher.
Ciri Miller broke the tie in the bottom of the inning when she doubled, went to third on a single by Casidhe Hoyt and scored on an outfield error on the play.
The Centaurs broke open the game in the fourth.
Heather Converse – who reached base in all four of her plate appearances – ripped a one-out triple to center. Catcher Julianna Nuttall reached on an infield single and Camille Corrado slapped a ball down the third base line for an RBI single, plating Converse.
Hannah Burgess made it 4-1 with an RBI single and Rivard followed with a run-scoring fielder’s choice. She later scored on a throwing error to give the Centaurs the 6-1 lead.
The fifth inning was even better.
The first four batters all had hits, producing two runs, with Maia Corrado picking up her second double of the game in the rally.
Two outs later, Burgess singled home a run and Rivard brought her home with an opposite-field triple to right.
“I wasn’t expecting that. I was just trying to get my bat on the ball and I have never been a big, consistent hitter, but now-and-then I get those hits. I don’t know where it came from, but I will take it,” Rivard said.
She and Burgess combined for four hits, three runs scored and four RBIs making for a nice pair of table-setters for Gerum.
“It’s a good combination,” Rivard said. “She has the slap and we both have pretty decent speed so when we get on the bases with our hitters following, it’s great.”
Rivard scored and another run came across thanks to a pair of Killingly outfield errors to complete the seven-run uprising.
“We short-gamed, too,” Gerum said. “We always tell the kids that we need to have their second option. Everybody has to be ready and focused to make short-game plays and do some things to cause some havoc. We did kind of both.”
Freshman Mackenzie Leveille was the beneficiary of all the runs. The pitcher went the distance and allowed just one run and four hits in the first six innings before being clipped for three runs in the seventh, two on a homer by Veillette.
“Mackenzie did great,” Gerum said. “She and Hannah (Wotton) have been taking turns. We have three good pitchers, we know we do. Hannah has been throwing a lot of the games early on so we decided to give Mackenzie the start and if she did well, we were going to stick with her. It’s a normal starter-reliever situation and she was on. She was shutting everyone down and we made some great plays behind her.”
The softball field at the Bentley Complex had not been able to be used because of the seemingly never-ending winter which left it wet and unplayable. The Centaurs had played their first couple of home games on the green in front of the school and at Roseland Park.
“I loved it,” Rivard said of the return to the field. “We’ve been playing on fields with outfields that go on for miles.”
Rivard said it was a comfort to know that there was a fence behind her although Killingly’s Ashley Veillette made use of it in the seventh inning with a drive that went about 215 feet and cleared the chain link for a two-run homer.
“It was over the fence, but I didn’t even know where the fence was and I just ran into it,” Rivard said with a laugh. “It’s tough when there are big hitters who can hit it over (the fence), but for the most part, it’s nice to be home.”
Montville scored two runs in both the second and third innings and maintained that lead throughout in the win over the Centaurs April 12.
Aurora Curran put the first two runs on the board for the Indians with a two-run triple in the second inning. Kaitlin Price repeated that in the third inning for the Indians (2-1, 1-0 ECC Division II).
Burgess and Rivard paced the Centaurs with a pair of hits. The Academy had only seven in total.
“We just went flat and to be honest, I think we underestimated Montville’s pitcher (Michon), she is very good,” coach Jay Gerum said. “Last year, we fared well against her. We have a lot of returning players and kind of took it for granted.”
Rivard and Ciri Miller had the only runs batted in for the Centaurs while Burgess had the only extra-base hit, a double.
The Centaurs were strong in the field where they did not make an error.
Converse was solid, handling all nine chances at first base.
Marc Allard
Sports Information Director


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