Softball: St. Joseph comes back to defeat Trumbull

Melissa Bike (24) and Jo Hillman each had their 100th career hit vs. Greenwich.
Melissa Bike (24) and Jo Hillman each had their 100th career hit vs. Greenwich.

Down to their final strike, St. Joseph came back with a pair of seventh-inning runs to swipe a 3-2  victory from host Trumbull High in an FCIAC softball battle on Wednesday afternoon.

Coach Jeff Babineau’s Cadets improved to 3-0. Coach Jacqui Sheftz’ Eagles are 2-2.

Courtney Holden crushed a tie-breaking double to right-center, just out of the reach of leaping right fielder Erica Fluskey, and pitcher Nicole Williams worked around counterpart Alexandra Szabo’s two-out single to close out the victory.

St. Joe’s first baseman Melissa Bike led off the seventh with an opposite field double, just inside the line. Kayla Giacobbe worked a walk, and Kaitlin Capobianco bunted the runners over with a sacrifice effort that she nearly turned into a base hit. After Szabo got the second out, a wild pitch scored the tying run, setting the stage for Holden.

“She had an excellent swing – really nice job,” Babineau said. “I give them a lot of credit. They fought back, they didn’t get down on themselves.”

The Cadets in the opening inning, as Hannah Hutchison, Williams and Bike singled.

The Eagles scored twice in the third as Fluskey cracked a home run, and Lauren Zielinski tripled and scored the go-ahead run on Szabo’s bunt single.

The game remained 2-1 thanks to both the solid pitching of Williams and Szabo, who had 10 and seven strikeouts, respectively, and sharp fielding, especially by the Eagles.

In the top of the fifth, Trumbull second baseman Sarah Angelo slid to attempt to catch a foul pop up near first base.The ball ticked off her glove and a sliding Fluskey, who raced from her outfield position, made the grab.

“We actually practice that,” Sheftz said.

Trumbull center fielder Lea Thompson made a diving catch in the right-center gap in the sixth, and shortstop Taylor Brown and Angelo both made nice plays in the middle of the infield.

“They made some phenomenal plays,” Babineau said.

Sheftz believes the effort her team put forth shows how quickly the team is coming along following a change in coaching staff and following the graduation of some of its players from a year ago.

“I think my girls played with a lot of emotion today,” she said. “They wore their hearts on their sleeves and left it all out on the field today.”

The Cadets, too, flashed some leather, highlighted by third baseman Trish Bastek making a sliding catch on a bunt in the fifth.

“Typical good softball team between two great teams – really enjoyable,” Babineau said. “It’s a good test and it shows what we can do, and what we have to work on.”

The latter being sharpening the fielding in spots, Babineau said.

“This is definitely a game to build on,” said Sheftz. “It was a playoff atmosphere and our team rose to the occasion. … It shows that we’re right there.”