Softball: St. Joseph upsets top-seeded Northwestern

St. Joseph was putting the ball in play sharply for four innings, before the ninth-seeded Cadets batted around in their fifth at bat to upend top-seeded and previously unbeaten Northwestern Regional of Winsted, 8-0, in the Class M quarterfinals on Friday.

“We’ve been hitting the ball well,” St. Joseph coach Jeff Babineau said. “We had good swings at the ball early. Sometimes it takes the second or third at bat for the players to make the right adjustments.”

Paige Hunter had two hits, a walk, and three RBIs as the locals improved to 20-4.

They will play No. 5 Granby Memorial in the semifinals on Tuesday at 4 p.m. at Frank DeLuca Hall of Fame Field in Stratford. Granby defeated No. 4 seed Seymour, 3-2, in its quarterfinal.

“Payton (Doiron) pitched a phenomenal game,” Babineau said of his sophomore, who allowed only three hits, walked two, and struck out six. “She held a great hitting team (23-1 Northwestern out of the Berkshire League) down for all seven innings. They are very athletic.”

St. Joseph strung together five consecutive hits to open the fifth off Highlander right hander Alexis Fortier.

Hannah Hutchison garnered the 150th hit of her career with a single to left.

Madison Fitzgerald singled up the middle, and then Kayla Giacobbe tripled up the gap in right-center to double the Cadets lead to 4-0.

Kaitlin Capobianco’s second hit, a single up the middle, plated Giacobbe.

Charlee Horton singled to right, with Laura Klimkosky throwing out Capobianco on a close play at third as Riley Webb made a sweep tag.

Allie Petronchak kept the rally going with a single.

Hunter drove a double to dead center to bring two more runs across, courtesy runner Katie Spangenberg and Petronchak.

Brittany Mairano made it 8-0 with a single to center.

Doiron was unflappable throughout, using a change up and riser to get the key outs.

After she issued a one-out walk on a 3-2 pitch to Gina Weingart in the first, the right-handed Doiron set down 10 consecutive batters.

Fitzgerald at shortstop made a fine catch on Sydney Sanden’s bid for a hit to lead off the frame.

The Highlanders’ Jana Sanden broke up the no-hit bid with a two-out single over the glove of Fitzgerald at shortstop, but Doiron enticed a comebacker to the circle to end the inning.

Six more batters went down in order, but Weingart, who made a pair of superlative plays at first base, beat out a single to shortstop with two outs in the sixth.

Harley Jasmin reached out and poked a single to left and Northwestern had two runners on base.

Not a problem for Doiron, who put the last out in the book on strikes.

Hutchison made a fine running catch on a ball off the bat of Ellie Olsen to start the seventh.

A bouncer back to Doiron and a soft liner to Giacobbe at second completed the shut out.

St Joseph scored twice in the second.

Capobianco singled, but Weingart made a snow-cone, diving catch of Horton’s bunt.

Cami Heintz’ grounder up the middle failed to record an out, as she hustled out the throw to first.

Hunter ripped a drive off Fortier to score Capobianco.

Heintz went to third on the play and scored on a wild pitch.