Softball: Trumbull wins battle of FCIAC unbeatens
“Emily Gell pitched an amazing game,” Trumbull High softball coach Jacqui Sheftz said after Gell tossed a one-hitter and the Eagles defeated Fairfield Ludlowe, 4-1, at Sturges Field in Fairfield on Friday.
“She peppered the zone (with strikes) and let her defense make plays behind her. Emily did a great job. Ludlowe is a very good team.”
Trumbull, ranked third in the GameTimeCT/Register Top 10 poll, improved to 7-0 on the season and 5-0 in the FCIAC.
It was the first FCIAC loss for Ludlowe, now 6-2 overall and 5-1 in the league.
The defensive plays that Sheftz’ eluded to included one that didn’t count, but set the tone for the game in the bottom of the first inning.
Ludlowe’s Allie Clark led off the home first by slicing the ball down the right field line.
Trumbull right fielder Maggie Coffin came out of nowhere to make a sliding catch in foul territory that wowed the crowd. The umpires may have been impressed as well, but ruled the grab was wide of the second line marking balls in play.
Clark earned a walk and Madeline Reyes bunted her to second.
Gell struck out the next batter, before Coffin, a fleet-footed junior, snared a drive off the bat of Sotiria Boci to end the frame.
Gell, a sophomore right-hander, went on to retire nine more batters in a row with freshman second baseman Mackenzie Bruggeman accounting for three of the outs. The best was a shoestring catch on Caitlyn Romero’s line drive in the second.
Trumbull’s offense in the meantime, showed a patient batting eye at the plate. The Eagles threatened, but couldn’t dent the scoreboard off Falcon right-handed pitcher Kylee Holderied.
The Eagles stranded two runners in the first, one in the second, and three more in the third. None of these baserunners reached because of a hit.
Base on balls and a hit batter got Holdereid in trouble, and her ability to notch key strikeouts got the sophomore out of those three jams.
Trumbull senior Courtney Fairfield broke up the twin no-hitters being thrown with a booming leadoff triple to right field in the fourth inning.
Bruggeman followed with an RBI single to plate pinch-runner Charlotte Erenberg with the game’s first run.
Gell, who finished with eight strikeouts, struck out the side in the home fourth.
Trumbull tacked on two more runs in the fifth.
Alexa Adinofi singled to right.
After a strikeout, the junior stole second and went to third on Cassi Barbato’s ground out to Liz Doolan at second.
Fairfield and Bruggeman took the counts deep before walking to load the bases.
Barbato plated the second run when the freshman was hit by a pitch.
Coffin walked to make it 3-0.
Holdereid got a strikeout to leave the bases full.
Caitlyn Romero broke up Gell’s no-hit bid with a ringing double to left field to start the home fifth.
Gell fielded a ball up the middle, checked courtesy runner Holly Casey at second, and got the out at first.
Holdreid walked, before Gell put the second out in the book on a roller to Fairfield at first.
With runners on second and third, Casey alertly scored on a low pitch to the plate.
Gell then stranded a runner at third with a strikeout.
Holdereid and Gell set the sides down in order in the sixth.
Sheftz encouraged her team to put one more run on the board, and the lower third of the order responded in the seventh.
Barbato worked out the 10th Trumbull walk, but it took 11 pitches including six foul balls for her to reach base.
She was erased at second on Fairfield’s fielder’s choice grounder, but had set the table.
Fairfield went to second on a wild pitch and raced home on Bruggeman’s hard single to center.
Gell struck out two batters in the seventh.