SOFTBALL Knights rally
STAMFORD — Just another routine battle for the Stamford city softball championship.
The Stamford High School softball team forged a tie in the bottom of the seventh and pushed across two runs in the eighth to finally secure a dramatic 6-4 extra inning triumph over Westhill Wednesday at the Vikings’ Allyson Rioux Field.
“Every year it doesn’t matter what the team records are,” said Stamford coach Melissa Giordano. “It’s always a tough and special game when we face Westhill.”
It was a victory with many benefits for Stamford, now 12-4 overall and 9-4 in the FCIAC.
It was the Black Knights’ fourth consecutive win and ninth triumph in their last 11 contests.
It was a critical victory in the battle for the Nos. 4-8 slots in the upcoming FCIAC softball playoffs. At 9-4, Stamford could be fourth, fifth or sixth.
Stamford has three league games (Central, Trinity Catholic, Wilton) and one non-league clash (NFA at home) remaining in its regular season.
Stamford should also move up from its current slot of No. 12 in the Class LL rankings. NFA entered Wednesday at No. 8 in Class LL.
If Stamford beats Trinity Catholic on May 15, it would capture the city softball championship.
And the most immediate benefit from Wednesday’s win is Stamford and Westhill were now tied in their year-long City Cup competition heading into Wednesday night’s Stamford-Westhill baseball game at Cubeta Stadium.
“Westhill is a great team and a great program,” said Stamford’s winning pitcher Jordan Rossi, who tossed three innings of scoreless relief to earn the victory on the mound. “But we love to win.”
Stamford led 3-0 after two innings before Westhill (4-12, 3-10 FCIAC) clawed back.
In the bottom of the fourth, Westhill freshman Kirsten Hallinan doubled, went to third on Caroline Kollar’s sac bunt and scored on a wild pitch for 3-1.
The Vikings used their feet to score three runs in the fifth for 4-3. The entire Westhill rally came after two outs and nobody on.
Maddie Bautista and Maddie Cortell linked back-to-back singles. Cortell stole second and continued to third when the throw was wild, allowing Bautista to score.
Betsy Sachs walked. Then Cortell scored on another wild pitch for 3-3 as Sachs went to second. Hallinan’s RBI single plated Sachs for a 4-3 Vikings’ edge.
“We battled all day long,” Westhill coach Tom Pia said. “We were opportunistic on the bases. We were good in the field. And we got some hits.”
But Stamford answered in the top of the seventh.
Brycelin Stalteri and Dana Serricchio (3-for-5) hit leadoff singles. With one out, they moved to second and third on a wild pitch. Stalteri scored on Amy Covino’s sacrifice fly to right for 4-4.
In the top of the eighth, Rossi walked and Abby Hogan (3-for-3) singled to center leading off. They moved to second and third on Ally Lyons’ sacrifice bunt.
With two outs, Stalteri accepted the challenge — ripping a two-run double to the center field fence for 6-4.
“We stay focused and calm right to the last out,” Stalteri said. “My job there was to make contact.”
“Give credit to Stamford,” Westhill coach Pia said. “They got the big hits when they needed them.”
And so, Stamford High’s wonderful softball season marches on.
“The girls didn’t give up,” Giordano said. “Jordan (Rossi) came in and shut the Westhill offense down. “
STAMFORD 6, WESTHILL 4 (8)
STAMFORD 210 000 12—6 9 1
WESTHILL 000 130 00—4 6 1
Records: Stamford 12-4, 9-4 FCIAC; Westhill 4-12, 3-10 FCIAC.
Batteries: S—Kim Saunders, Jordan Rossi (6, W) and Amy Covino. W—Olivia Butler (L) and Kirsten Hallinan.