Softball: Game of firsts in St. Joseph's victory

Kayla Giacobbe doubled home two runs in the Cadets' four-run fifth-inning rally.
Kayla Giacobbe doubled home two runs in the Cadets' four-run fifth-inning rally.

It was a game of firsts for the St. Joseph High softball team when the top-seeded Cadets defeated eighth-seeded Griswold, 7-0, in the Class M state quarterfinals in Trumbull on Thursday.

Cadet coach Jeff Babineau won his 150th game in his seven seasons at the school.

Winning pitcher Nicole Williams had two hits to reach the 100-hit mark in her career.

Sophomore Hanna Hutchison hit the first home run of her two year career for the Cadets.

St. Joseph (21-1) will play fifth-seeded Rocky Hill (21-1) in the semifinals at a site and date to be determined. Rocky Hill defeated fourth-seeded North Branford 5-2 in its semi.

Williams tossed a three-hit shutout, striking out seven and walking one.

“I knew I was close (to the hitting milestone) coming into the season and I was hoping I’d get it,” said Williams, who had RBI hits in the first and fourth innings against the Wolverines (18-5).

Hutchison recorded her first round-tripper in the second inning with a two-run blast over the fence in right center that carried onto the lacrosse field.

“Not really,” Hutchison said when asked if she knew the ball would go out. “It was a low and outside pitch and I knew I had hit it hard. To get to a pitch like that you have to keep your head down and your shoulder in.”

Hutchison added a single and a walk to her two-run homer. She scored three runs from the top of the lineup.

“I liked our energy today,” Babineau said. “Our swings were a bit rusty yesterday (in a 2-0 win over Waterford) with the layoff. It’s good to get games (back to back) and we swung the bats well.”

Hutchison opened the game with a single. Melissa Bike walked to set the stage for RBI singles from Jovanna Hillman and Williams.

Allie Petronchak reached on a chopper to the left side to advance courtesy runner Trish Bastek to third. She scored on Kayla Giacobbe’s long sacrifice fly.

Griswold’s leadoff batter Shay Sauvageau reached on an infield error to start the game. Williams left her at third base with a strikeout and proceeded to retire the Wolverines in order in the second and third frames.

Griswold’s Brooke Rainville walked with two down in the fourth to end a string of 11 straight Wolverines retired. She was stranded on second by another of Williams’ inning-ending strikeouts (four).

The Cadets added to their 5-0 lead in the home fourth.

Hutchison walked, advanced a base on a pair of infield outs, and scored on Williams’ 100th career hit, a single to left center.

Lauren Blose walked with one out in the fifth. She went to second on a wild pitch and scored from there as she never stopped running on Hanna Errico’s bunt single.

Griswold put singles together with one out in the sixth. It put two runners aboard on another single and a bobbled chopper in the seventh.

Giacobbe at shortstop made the throw to first to end the sixth and caught a pop-up to close the seventh.

Elena Ball singled and rode home on Hutchison’s homer.