Softball: Trumbull defeats Stamford with three-run seventh

Ally Szabo pitched a two-hitter and struck out five in the 3-0 semifinal victory. — Bill Bloxsom photo
Ally Szabo pitched a two-hitter and struck out five in the 3-0 semifinal victory. — Bill Bloxsom photo

The Trumbull High softball team defeated Stamford High, 3-0, in the Class LL state tournament semifinals on Thursday at DeLuca Field in Stratford.

One by one, coach Jacqui Sheftz’ players deflected any individual credit for the ninth-seeded Lady Eagles’ (20-4) advancement to the title game, where they will meet No. 6 Southington (22-2) for the title on Saturday.

Originally scheduled for 1 p.m. at DeLuca, the CIAC has been switched it to 7 p.m. at West Haven High’s Biondi Field.

“We were just so determined,” winning pitcher Ally Szabo said after allowing only two hits to the Bears (21-3). “We just picked each other up. I get really stressed out in these situation. I had to take deep breathes, tell myself not to think, and just pitch. We had the dream and we knew if we believed that it could happen.”

Lea Thompson, who missed the first 14 games of the regular season after breaking an ankle, snapped the scoreless deadlock with a soaring home run just to the right of dead center leading off the seventh inning.

“When I was out the whole team was great to me and when I came back very welcoming,” Thompson said. “This team is such a family and that team chemistry definitely brought us where we are today.”

Szabo followed Thompson’s blast with a one-out single off Stamford lefty Sara Staley.

Delilha DeStefano then hammered a two-run shot over the fence in left field for a 3-0 lead.

Sheftz said, “I’m happy for them and right now I’m happy for Trumbull softball.

“Ally just needs to be Ally. She has a great defense behind her. She just needs to keep us in it until the offense kicks in. Her biggest asset right now is her composure on the mound. She threw well today.

“Lea Thompson’s an excellent player. Her injury was unfortunate and it was devastating to our team. She just came out more hungry than ever once she got the green light and was able to play again.”

Szabo retired the first ten batters she faced and took a no-hitter into the bottom of the sixth.

Lauren O’Neill drove the ball to deep left-center and used her speed to turn the extra-base hit into a triple.

Staley came up and missed a squeeze bunt attempt.

Courtney Fairfield behind the plate fired the ball to Taylor Brown coming in from shortstop to cover third.

She slapped the tag down on a sliding O’Neill to end the rally before it could gain momentum.

Stamford’s Dana Serrichio singled to center with one out in the seventh, despite a diving try by the Eagles’ Alexa Adinolfi.

After a fielder’s choice grounder put the second out in the book, Tori Cascano walked on a 3-2 pitch to bring the tying run to the plate.

Szabo, who struck out five, enticed a comebacker to the circle from Gloria Mattioli and tossed the ball to Briana Giacobbe for the final out.

Thompson and Szabo had two hits each.

Erica Fluskey, DeStefano and Giacobbe had the other safeties off Staley, who struck out four and didn’t walk a batter.