Cadets putting best foot forward
Tori Ceballos fired a two-hit shutout and Jenn Vazquez hit a three-run home run, powering the St. Joseph High softball team to a 7-0 win over Stamford High on Friday in Trumbull.
The Cadets won their fifth game in a row, improving to 13-3 overall, while the Black Knights fell to 13-4 and saw their three-game winning streak halted.
Ceballos retired 13 batters in a row to close out the game, allowing just back-to-back, third-inning hits to Krista Robustelli and Clare Kaptinski.
“She to pitched to contact all day and she hit her spots all day,” St. Joseph coach Jeff Babineau said. “It was a beautiful pitching day from her. That’s a great team over there and she held them down.”
Katie Gardella had a bases-clearing double in the third inning and Kristen Chacho a first-inning RBI single to account for the St. Joseph scoring, along with Vazquez ripping a three-run shot to right-center field in the second frame.
Ceballos added three hits, while Kristen Chacho and Amy Chacho had two each.
“We’ve been hitting all year,” Babineau said. “We’re a good offensive team. I expect them to put runs on the board, that’s the big thing.”
After Ceballos retired Stamford in order in the top of the first inning, Lauren Pitney led off the home half of the frame with a single to center off of Black Knight starter Christina Joannou.
Joannou then get Mickaela Mallozzi and Vazquez to ground out, before Kristen Chacho punched a two-out RBI single to center.
Ceballos grounded a single through the right side and Nicole Williams reached on an error to load the bases, but Joannou induced an inning-ending grounder off of the bat of Amy Chacho to defuse the threat.
In the bottom of the second, Gardella and Mallozzi worked walks around a sprawling stop by Stamford third baseman Haley Lamotta on Pitney’s grounder, bringing Vazquez to the plate with one out.
The Manhattan-bound slugger crushed Joannou’s 1-0 pitch to right-center field for a three-run home run that staked St. Joseph to a 4-0 edge.
From there, Stamford threatened just once — a two-out uprising in the top of the third.
Robustelli, the Black Knights’ UConn-bound senior shortstop, lashed an opposite-field, stand-up double into the right-field corner.
Kaptinski then slapped an infield single, before Gretta Buckley grounded out to Kristen Markarian at third base to end the inning.
Ceballos, who struck out five and walked one, did not allow any other base runners the rest of the way.
St. Joseph pushed across three more runs in the third, knocking Joannou out of the game in the process.
Ceballos drove a lead-off single back through the middle, with Stamford coach Tony Esposito then bringing on Jordan Schepps in relief. Williams greeted her with a single to left field and Amy Chacho singled to load the bases.
After Markarian popped out, Gardella cleared the bags with a key three-run double.
“She’s there for a season reason,” Babineau said of Gardella, his ninth-place hitter charged with wrapping the batting order around. “She’s a great hitter.”
When Pitney lifted a fly ball to right field looking for the sacrifice fly, Black Knight right fielder Nicole Pease cut down Gardella with a perfect strike to catcher Colleen Adams.
St. Joseph will visit Warde on Friday at 3:45 p.m.