Trumbull plays loose and knocks off Cheshire

CHESHIRE - Jacqui Sheftz told her Trumbull softball team on the way to Cheshire they had nothing to lose.

The Eagles were going up against the newly crowned Southern Connecticut Conference champions on the road and were considered a big underdog.

But 14th-seeded Trumbull (15-6) played loose and took advantage of a couple Cheshire mistakes to record a 6-4 victory Wednesday afternoon in a CIAC Class LL second round game. The Eagles will now travel to 11th-seeded Newtown Friday in the quarterfinals.

“There’s nothing more dangerous than a team with nothing to lose and that was our approach,” Sheftz said afterwards. “Cheshire is an elite program and is well respected among all of us, but it allowed us to play nice, relaxed pressure-free softball.”

Cheshire got on the board first as Karla Carangelo doubled in a run in the bottom of the second inning, but that lead was short-lived as the Eagles took advantage in the top of the third of a couple of bloop hits and some rare wildness by Rams’ pitcher Bri Pearson as she walked two in the frame.

Two-run singles by Jenna Duffy and Kiley Barbagallo, along with a run-scoring double by Maura Carbone mixed with in with an error and a couple of bloop hits gave Trumbull a 5-1 lead.

Trumbull added another run in the top of the fourth when Duffy collected another run batted in on a bloop single to center.

The Rams fought back in the bottom of the fourth inning to score three times thanks to a couple defensive mistakes by Trumbull.

Cheshire took advantage of a throwing error on an attempted force play at second base, allowing Kailey Sweigard to score. Grace Lurz and Trinadey Santiago added run-scoring singles to cut the Rams deficit to just 6-4 with one out and the bases loaded. However, Trumbull pitcher Kenzie Bruggeman was able to escape from the jam without any further damage.Grace Lurz and Trinadey Santiago added run-scoring singles to cut the Rams deficit to just 6-4 with one out and the bases loaded. However, Trumbull pitcher Kenzie Bruggeman was able to escape from the jam without any further damage.

“We had a bunch of baserunners and we couldn’t get back to back hits together,” Cheshire coach Kristine Durst said. “We fought hard but it just wasn’t our day.”

After that, Cheshire had only one baserunner over the final three innings, that coming when Bruggeman walked Ella Watson with two outs in the sixth inning.

“We have a senior battery, but we’re a young team across the board with seven brand new starters from two years ago,” Sheftz said. “It was more important how we bounced back defensively from that one inning of miscues.”

Cheshire, ranked sixth in the final regular season GametimeCT.com state poll, finished at 20-3.

“We knew they were a good team,” Drust said. “They are a good team and we knew that. They had a breakthrough inning and it was hard to come back after that.”