Festa, Costello lead Eagles
As battery mates, Trumbull High’s senior pitcher Maddie Festa and junior catcher Christie Costello have gotten to know each other well.
Festa has been a four-year starter for the Eagles, and her career-high 12 strikeout performance Friday afternoon paved the way to a 9-0 home win over Danbury in an FCIAC game.
The victory was Trumbull’s eighth in its last nine games while the Hatters, after taking 11 of their first 12 games, have now dropped four in a row. Trumbull opened its season losing five of its first six games.
Festa used good location and off-speed pitches to keep Danbury’s hitters off stride all game long.
She gave up six hits, five of them singles, and didn’t walk a batter until the seventh inning when the Hatters loaded the bases, but couldn’t push home a run.
Costello has gone from being an outfielder, to pitcher, to now becoming a left-handed catcher, whose footwork and arm make her deft at the position.
“Maddie is the only senior who starts, so we’re never sure which team is going to show up,” said Charlie Judge, who has coached 20 years in softball and another 10 in baseball.
“We’re either going to have the real team on the field or the evil sister.
“We were good today. We made only one error and we’ve only had three in our last four games. That’s a big improvement.”
Earlier in the year, the Eagles committed 13 errors in a 15-7 loss at Stamford.
“In my 30 years of coaching, I’ve never seen that happen before. And, I’ll tell you I don’t want to see it happen again.”
Costello said: “Coach Judge feels that you build a team on defense. We pretty much had tryouts after that loss. Two jayvee players (sophomores Hayley Giblin and Lauren Zielinski) are now in our starting lineup.”
As the leadoff hitter, Costello, along with right fielder Emily Clark and Giblin paced the 11-hit Trumbull attack. Each player had two hits. Clark drove in three runs while Costello chased home two.
The Eagles had two big innings against three Danbury pitchers, who gave up seven walks, hit two batters and threw four wild pitches.
Trumbull scored six times in the second and added three more runs in the fifth.
“I thought I pitched well today but our team hit the ball well, too,” Festa said. “Once we got our defense worked out, it made me an even more confident pitcher.”
Festa threw 90 pitches and moved the ball around the strike zone.
“She’s worked awfully hard to become a good pitcher,” Judge said.
“She’s gotten better as this season has gone on. Her locations was good today. Her best pitch is her screwball.”
Judge knows that Costello is an integral part of this team and its success.
“She’s a great game-day player,” Judge said. “You’ve got to love her competitive nature. She’ll fight you right to the end.”
Trumbull reverted a bit when Greenwich High defeated the Eagles 6-4 in 11 innings on Sunday.
Greenwich (13-4, 12-3 FCIAC) scored twice in the top of the 11th.
Kristine Liptack had two hits and Jayme Thompson a double for Trumbull.
The Eagles bounced back to defeat Staples of Westport, 15-9 on Monday.
Clark had three hits, Megan Thaler hit two triples and Festa slugged two doubles for the Eagles (10-7, 9-6 FCIAC).
Festa pitched a four-hit shutout to lead Trumbull to a 4-0 victory over Brien McMahon of Norwalk on April 26.
Megan Thaler had a triple.
Trumbull will host Trinity Catholic of Stamford on Friday at 3:45 p.m.