Seymour beats East Haven 2-1 for Class M softball title
Updated 12:47 am, Sunday, June 15, 2014
WEST HAVEN -- One of the state's top softball programs of the past two decades added another championship to its ledger Saturday. And unlike some of the big-bopping softball teams with blow-everyone-away pitching, they scrapped for every bit of it.
With just one hit, top-seeded Seymour beat East Haven 2-0 in the Class M final at Biondi Field behind Raeanne Geffert's two-hitter, some sparkling defense and efficient work to move standout Katie Petroski around the bases.
"We've had some great teams here, some teams where, 1 (through) 9, they were great hitters," said coach Ken Pereiras of Seymour, where the school has won nine CIAC championships since 1993.
"This team doesn't go as deep as them, but we have kids who worked hard and did their best, and a pitcher who was in control."
Geffert, a sophomore, was named the MVP, striking out five against no walks and a hit batsman, and she also drove in the second run for the Wildcats (26-1).
Though the seventh-seeded Yellowjackets (20-6) made contact -- three of Geffert's five strikeouts came in the last two innings -- Seymour's defense was clean, like Shari Minalga's grabbing two liners at second base in the fifth, like Miranda Zygmunt's going back to catch a second-inning fly to left, or Petroski's tracking down three fly balls in center. Even the one error, on a grounder up the middle, probably could've gone either way.
"We know that's our job," said Petroski, who's off to Penn in the fall. "She's pitching her heart out out there. We've got to make every single play."
The win avenged a quarterfinal loss to East Haven last year, getting the Wildcats their first state title since 2009, the school's longest championship drought since it won its first.
"At the end of last year, Geffert said this isn't going to happen again," Pereiras said. "Our assistant coach Neil Swanchak worked with her, made her a better pitcher. Because of that, we're here today."
Petroski gave Swanchak, a longtime coach at different schools and programs around the region, credit for encouraging the small-ball tactics that got the Wildcats both runs Saturday.
Plus, Pereiras said they didn't think they could run on East Haven catcher McKenzie Miessau, so they went to the bunt. It worked twice -- three times, really -- with help from a couple of errors.
Petroski led off the bottom of the first and reached second after her popup behind third base was dropped. Minalga sacrificed her to third, and Makayla O'Hara's two-out single -- the only Seymour hit against Talia Loda -- brought her in.
Petroski walked with one out in the third. Minalga again sacrificed, but Loda threw the bunt away, putting Petroski on third. Geffert got yet another bunt down to score Petroski, security for yet another title in a town where softball is big from Little League on up.
Pereiras said the team was out at its field at 10 a.m., chatting with a team of 9-year-old Little Leaguers who were practicing.
"(The players) let them know what it's all about," Pereiras said.
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Class M softball final
EAST HAVEN 000 000 0--0 2 2
SEYMOUR 101 000 x--2 1 1
Records: East Haven 20-6; Seymour 26-1 Batteries: EH--Talia Loda (L, 15-6) and McKenzie Miessau; S--Raeanne Geffert (W, 26-1) and Amanda Harkins