Szabo fans 16, Trumbull softball tops New Canaan in eight innings

Although she may look cool and calm on the outside, Trumbull softball pitcher Ally Szabo is feeling a bit different when she’s locked up in a close game.

“With all these kind of games,” she said. “I always get nervous.”

That’s hard to believe given her latest stellar performance.

Szabo struck out 16 and allowed just three hits over eight scoreless innings, as the Eagles shut out the New Canaan Rams, 3-0, in a key FCIAC battle Monday in New Canaan’s Waveny Park.

Trumbull snapped a scoreless tie in the top of the eighth when senior Erica Fluskey walked with the bases loaded, and freshman Julia Huzi followed with a two-run double to right for a three-run cushion.

The Eagles overcame a great performance by New Canaan pitcher Gillian Kane, who matched zeroes with Szabo for seven innings. Kane also worked eight innings, allowing just the three runs on six hits, while walking six and striking out 12.

“It was a pitchers’ duel and you had two great pitchers going at it,” New Canaan head coach Danielle Simoneau said. “We hit the ball well, we just hit it to people. They were playing deep and we need to learn to adjust to that. It was seven solid innings and one inning changed it.”

Kane also led New Canaan at the plate, getting two hits, including a double, off of Szabo. Rachel and Molly Keshin each reached twice in four plate appearances, with Rachel hitting one single and drawing a walk, and Molly walking twice..

Molly Rochlin had the Rams’ other hit on a bunt single in the bottom of the fourth.

For Trumbull, Huzi was on base three times with a single, double and a walk, while Alexa Adinolfi went 2-for-3 with a run scored. Briana Giacobbe and Delilha Destefano also singled.

The game could be important in the FCIAC playoff race, since each team is a contender. New Canaan is now 6-4 overall and 4-3 in the conference, while Trumbull is 6-3 and 4-2, respectively.

Each team had scoring chances during the first seven innings.

In the top of the third, Maggie Coffin drew a walk leading off and advanced to third base on a pair of groundouts before Kane ended the inning with a K.

In the bottom of the inning, Kane rifled a double to center with two outs, and the Rams’ Kara Fahey pounded a ball to deep center, but Adinolfi made the grab end the threat.

In the bottom of the fourth, Rachel and Keshin both drew walks to set the table for New Canaan. Rochlin put down a sacrifice bunt, but the Eagles miscommunicated and left first base uncovered, allowing the Rams to load the bases with no one out.

Szabo left the runners stranded with three straight strikeouts.

“There’s always a lot of things going through my head, especially in that situation,” Szabo said. “I just had to take a deep breath, don’t think, and just pitch it.”

In the top of the fifth, it was Kane’s turn to pull a Houdini act.

Huzi led off and dunked a single into short right before advancing to second on a wild pitch. Then with one out she stole third.

Kane got the second out on a strikeout but, after a walk, threw a wild pitch with Kuzi breaking for home. Catcher Molly Keshin scrambled for the ball and flipped it to Kane, who tagged a sliding Huzi at the plate for the third out.

Both pitchers sailed through the sixth and seventh innings, but Trumbull broke through in the eighth.

Giacobbe started it with a single and Courtney Fairfield then walked with one out. Adinolfi was hit by a pitch to load the bases, and Fluskey walked to force in the first run.

Huzi then had the big hit, lacing a double the other way for two more runs and a 3-0 lead.

“I was so excited,” Szabo said. “That helped us in the next inning because we were so pumped up from that. It helped me relax.”

Kane settled down and struck out the next two batters, but Trumbull had the lead.

The home half of the eighth started with a single through the middle by Kane, and the next two Rams hit the ball hard, but Trumbull made the plays and Szabo ended the game with a strikeout.