Softball: Trumbull tops St. Joseph in meeting of unbeatens

The momentum kept changing when a pair of FCIAC unbeaten softball teams took the field on Wednesday, but when the final out was recorded it was Trumbull High that emerged with a 5-4 victory over visiting St. Joseph.

“We’re a young team, we’re young at key positions. That playoff type atmosphere — making the heart pound in the chest a little bit — I’m really proud of how we hung in there,” Trumbull coach Jacqui Sheftz said.

The Eagles improved to 12-1, and 9-0 in the FCIAC.

St. Joseph is 10-3 and 8-1 FCIAC.

St. Joseph took a 1-0 lead in its first at bat, but it could have been more.

“Yes, we had some opportunities,” St. Joseph coach Jeff Babineau said. “We had chances early and then later (in the game) with two outs. We had some kids get up in some tough situations, and I think in the long haul going into playoffs and states I think that will help.”

Trumbull right-hander Emily Gell stranded nine baserunners, three in the first and again in the sixth.

“That was a big game for her,” Sheftz said. “She’s a sophomore taking over for someone (Ally Szabo) who won a state championship on that mound. There is a lot of pressure put on Em by herself, not us. She was able to overcome that today and throw a pretty good ball game for us.”

After giving up two hits and hitting two batters in the opening frame, Gell notched a pair of strikeouts to leave the bags full. St. Joe’s Hannah Hutchison led off with a single and scored on Kayla Giacobbe RBI hit to right-center field.

Trumbull went on top 2-1 in the bottom of the second inning off Cadet left-hander Cat Connell.

Delihla Destefano singled and Courtney Fairfield’s sacrifice bunt put her in scoring position. After Cassi Barbato singled, there were runners on the corners.

Mackenzie Bruggeman squared to bunt, and the pitch went to the backstop.

Destefano hustled home from third and slid under the tag by Connell to tie the game.

“I thought our execution was pretty point-on today...Being able to move runners and put runners in scoring position to come up with those big hits,” Sheftz said. “I’m proud of our execution offensively.”

Connell retired Bruggeman on a roller up the middle that was fielded by Giacobbe at shortstop for the second out.

Ava Dunn, Trumbull’s surprise package batting in the ninth spot, rescued the rally with an RBI single to center for a 2-1 advantage.

St. Joseph tied the game in the third, but the Cadets were hoping for more.

Giacobbe singled with one out and scored on freshman Madison Fitzgerald’s double into the left field corner.

Classmate Brittany Mairano then lined the ball up the middle and off Gell’s leg. Eagle shortstop Julia Huzi got to the ball quickly and fired to Fairfield at first for the third out.

A pair of Cadet errors gave Trumbull a 3-2 lead in the home third. Cami Heintz worked Gell for the only walk she allowed with two outs in the fourth. She advanced no further as Huzi’s strong throw nipped the speedy Hutchison.

Dunn doubled home Bruggeman after she had singled with one out in the fourth. Maggie Coffin’s roller to the right side scored the second run of the frame and another Cadet miscue brought home the third.

With a 5-2 lead, Gell set down the side in order in the fifth as Huzi made a fine play on Kaitlin Capobianco’s pop up in shallow left field for the first out.

St. Joseph rallied with two outs in the sixth inning, and the rally like two by the Eagles, was aided by errors.

Allie Petronchak single was misplayed to put her on second. Kim Thorme came in to run and scored on Paige Hunter’s RBI single. After an error extended the inning, Hunter was safe at third on a fielder’s choice grounder.

Capobianco was hit by a pitch to bring home a run and make it a 5-4 game, before Gell got a fly ball to Coffin in right to again strand three runners.

Fitzgerald singled with one out in the seventh, before Gell completed the Eagle victory with her seventh strikeout and a pop up.