Doiron fans 13 as St. Joseph softball blanks New Canaan 3-0
Great teams find ways to win when things aren’t firing on all cylinders. And on a night when the usually potent St. Joseph softball team mustered just two hits, the Cadets still managed to pull out a victory, defeating the New Canaan Rams 3-0 on the road at Waveny Park.
Sophomore pitcher Payton Doiron delivered a terrific performance, earning the complete game win while giving up four hits, five walks and striking out 13 for the shutout. With the win, the Cadets improved to 13-4 on the season and 11-2 in the FCIAC, solidifying their hold on third place in the conference.
“It was a very good ballgame,” St. Joe’s head coach Jeff Babineau said. “We had to battle. Peyton pitched well tonight, she had good movement with the ball moving in and out and changing speeds. We’re happy with it.”
The Rams, who fell to 6-11 overall and 4-9 in conference play, hung tight with the Cadets throughout the contest. New Canaan senior Gillian Kane pitched well, working around seven walks, allowing one earned run on two hits with seven K’s. Kane also went 2-for-2 with an intentional walk at the plate.
New Canaan committed five errors in the game, something that has hurt the young team throughout the 2018 season. The Rams did make several nice individual plays on defense against the Cadets, however, including two from junior shortstop Kara Fahey on hard-hit grounders and one from freshman outfielder Mary Haney, who robbed sophomore Charlee Horton of extra bases on a line shot to left.
“We played a good game against one of the better teams in the state,” Rams head coach Joel Geriak said. “Our pitcher kept us in the game. We just didn’t get the timely hitting that we needed.”
Neither team was able to capitalize on scoring opportunities in the early going. St. Joe’s loaded the bases with two outs in the top of the first, but Kane was able to escape the jam by snaring a liner up the middle from Cadet junior Allie Petronchak to end the inning.
The Rams threatened in the bottom half of the first as sophomore Emma Shullman drew a one-out walk and moved to second on Kane’s single. Doiron struck out the next two New Canaan batters to get out of the inning unscathed.
Both pitchers cruised until the top of the fifth. St. Joe’s freshman Brittany Mairano led off the inning by reaching on an error, moving to second as the throw sailed out of play.
After Mairano moved to third on a passed ball, freshman Madison Fitzgerald reached safely on another New Canaan error, scoring Mairano for a 1-0 lead. Fitzgerald advanced to third on a groundout and came home on senior co-captain Kayla Giacobbe’s grounder, extending the Cadets’ lead to 2-0.
New Canaan countered in the bottom of the fifth as Shullman and Kane hit back-to-back two-out singles. Sophomore Kaitlyn Fico followed with a single to shortstop, but Shullman was called out for interference to end the inning.
St. Joe’s added an insurance run in the sixth as Petronchak led off with a walk. Petronchak was forced out at second on sophomore Cami Heintz’s fielder’s choice, but junior Alyssa Noce followed with a triple to right, driving in Heintz with the Cadets’ third run.
Doiron took care of the rest, setting down six of the final seven New Canaan batters to end the game and preserve the shutout for the Cadets, who—as the season winds down—will soon be looking to reclaim the FCIAC title they relinquished last season after three consecutive championship years from 2014-2016.
“I told the girls to picture this game like it was at DeLuca Field or Sacred Heart under the lights,” Babineau said. “You have to take it like it’s a playoff game, and that’s what we’ve been working for.”
Meanwhile New Canaan needs to win two of its final three games in order to qualify for the state postseason. The Rams face Staples on Monday, followed by games against Westhill and Wilton—two teams New Canaan has already defeated this season.
“If we play like we did tonight and against Darien [a 2-1 win on Monday] I like our chances,” Geriak said. “If we play like we did against Ridgefield [a 7-1 loss on Wednesday] it’s going to be a tough road. It just depends on what team we show up with.”
St. Joseph 3, New Canaan 0
Friday, May 11, at Waveny Park
St. Joseph 0-0-0-0-2-1-0 3 runs, 2 hits, 0 errors
New Canaan 0-0-0-0-0-0-0 0 runs, 4 hits, 5 errors
St. Joseph Highlights
Payton Doiron - W, 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 5 BB, 13 K
Alyssa Noce - 1-for-2, 3B, BB, RBI
New Canaan Highlights
Gillian Kane - L, 7 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 7 BB, 7 K; 2-for-2, IBB
Emma Shullman - 1-for-2, BB