Pitching depth lifts Trumbull softball
Losing an ace pitcher to injury or illness can be devastating in the world of high school softball. Losing all three of your top arms? Most teams would be kissing good-night to the season at that point.
With every successive domino that has fallen off the rubber, the Eagles just seem to find a way to get stronger.
Sophomore Taylor Brown proved just how well-stocked the Eagles are on the mound, pitching Trumbull to a 5-0 victory over
Brien McMahon from Norwalk in emergency relief Monday afternoon at the blustery THS field.
Trumbull found itself in a sticky situation against the Senators (3-7 overall, 1-7 FCIAC) with all three of its top pitchers on the shelf.
Junior ace Sam Platz is out with a minor medical issue, junior Marissa Valenti has a bruised arm and sophomore Alexandra Szabo, who had pitched the previous five games, was out sick.
All Brown did was fire a complete-game one-hitter with 15 strikeouts and two walks in her first start since preseason.
Brown, the team’s talented starting shortstop, took a perfect game into the fifth inning and was two outs away from a no-hitter when McMahon’s Ryan Lajoie scratched out an infield single in the seventh.
Trumbull improved to 8-1 overall and 6-1 in the FCIAC heading into Wednesday’s key FCIAC matchup with Fairfield Ludlowe.
“We’re very, very deep in pitching, which is a blessing,” Trumbull head coach Cary Nadel said. Trumbull also could have gone with Claire DeLuca, another solid option.
“We have one No. 1 and three No. 2’s. We just mix and match them,” said Nadel, who wasn’t even counting Brown among the mix because she’s such a good shortstop.
Brown looked like she could be an ace for anyone else, striking out eight of the first 12 batters she faced.
When Brown got into trouble — McMahon had runners on second and third with one out in the fifth courtesy of two walks and a sacrifice bunt — the slender right-hander got herself out of it by striking out the final two batters.
It was Trumbull’s first one-hitter of the season.
“I was really excited when they asked me to pitch,” said Brown, who aided her own cause with an RBI-double in the sixth. “I play shortstop every game so it’s fun when I get to try another position.”
Brown came inches away from a no-hitter when Lajoie’s line drive deflected off her glove. Shortstop Nicole Palmer, who played a flawless game after moving over from second base, picked up the ball and threw to first but Lajoie just beat it out.
“That was a pretty hard-hit line drive and I just got my glove on it. Nicole almost had it too,” Brown said. “But it doesn’t matter. My team played really good defense the whole game. (McMahon) did well. We just made the plays.”
Trumbull also swung some hefty bats. Nadel made a pact with the team before the season started.
Whenever someone hits a home run, he treats for ice cream. Nadel had to play up once again when sophomore Lea Thompson belted a solo shot over the fence in left field with two outs in the bottom of the first.
Thompson went 2-for-4 with two RBIs, including a one-run double in the fifth, and senior first-baseman Emily Clark went 3-for-4 with a double and two RBIs.
“The deal is only if we win. They get ice cream today, so that means I’m already about two or three hundred dollars in the hole,” Nadel said. “I told them if I spend my salary that means I’m happy.”
Trumbull scored twice in the fifth. Catcher Harleigh Kaczegowicz reached on an error and scored on Thompson’s double.
Thompson scored after consecutive singles by Clark, Delilha Destefano (2-for-4) and Palmer.
Trumbull added two runs in the seventh on doubles by Brown, Clark and DeLuca.
The Eagles still have to play the meat of the schedule with upcoming games against Ludlowe (6-2), Darien (9-1) and St. Joseph (8-0), but Trumbull is definitely right where it wants to be.
“An 8-1 start, I can’t ask for anything more than that,” Nadel said. “Even our one loss (Norwalk) was a good loss because we learned from it.”
With a team this good, the Eagles just might be able to make some noise come playoff time.
“I hope so,” Brown said. “I definitely think we could.”