It took 16 games for the Trinity Catholic softball team to earn its fifth win a year ago. The Crusaders are off to a far better start this year and reached the plateau in half as many games Wednesday by the slimmest of margins.
Escaping a bases loaded jam in the bottom of the seventh inning, Amy Hurd closed out a complete game effort as the Crusaders prevailed 6-5 against Staples at Wakeman Field.
The Wreckers drew three straight walks during the seventh-inning rally to draw to within a run, but Hurd struck out Staples freshman Nicole Burns to seal the win.
"We came into this game very loose," Trinity coach Tom Kriz said. "They weren't tense; they were backing each other. This is a good step in the right direction for us."
The game was deadlocked at four entering the top of the seventh inning, but Trinity (5-3) quickly took the lead. Leah Zarrilli led off the inning with a walk, and advanced from first to third on a wild pitch. Zarrilli scored on a single by Allison Patasi two pitches later.
"(Zarrilli) read that well," Kriz said. "She is very quick; she made a great play and that was a big run for us."
"Amy did fine," Kriz said. "She challenged hitters, she was hitting spots. Congrats to her."
Staples rallied in the bottom of the sixth to force the dramatic seventh inning. Trailing 4-1, the Wreckers strung together three straight hits before Gabby Perry hit a two-run triple to tie the game at four.
"I thought we had a great comeback," Staples coach Sara Holland said. "All the batters were probably feeling the pressure, but they were handling it and we put ourselves in a position to tie the game."
Staples got the first run of the game in the bottom of the first inning, but Trinity tied the game in the top of the second on an RBI single by Emily Ellis. The Crusaders got a run in each of the third, fourth and fifth innings to extend their lead.
The Wreckers had chances to get back in the game, but made five errors in the field and had three runners thrown out at third base.
"This was a game where we all thought we would be able to win," Holland said. "Give credit to Trinity, they played better than we did today."
The game was the third game in as many days for Staples at its brand new field. The Wreckers opened their home at Wakeman against Wilton Monday and will have a ceremony prior to their game against Harding on Monday. Staples played its home games at Greens Farms Elementary school prior to this season.
"Practicing on it and playing on it; just to have a home field with our dugouts and to feel part of the school is really big," Holland said. "We're already getting more people stopping by just from the neighborhood. We feel much more part of the school."
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