Staples softball edged by Warde on 7th-inning hit
Published 10:23 pm, Tuesday, April 28, 2015
The Fairfield Warde softball team has already been involved in a number of close games, and prevailed in most of them.
The Mustangs kept both trends and improved to 8-2 as Gabby Natoli delivered a tie-breaking RBI single in the top of the seventh to send Warde to a 5-4 win over Staples on Tuesday at Wakeman Field.
Natoli drove a pitch down the left field line with runners on first and second with two outs to send the Mustangs to another wild win.
"She's been doing that year for us," Warde coach Gary Quiricone said. "She came up in the same situation (in a 4-3 win over New Canaan Friday) and hit a double for us."
Natoli, who pitched the first six innings, yielded a hit to start the bottom of the seventh. Reliever Kayla Bivens came in and got three straight outs to end the game.
Five of the last seven games have been decided by two runs or less for the Mustangs. After prevailing against the Rams, Warde came from behind with four runs in the seventh to beat Westhill 9-7 Monday.
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"These kids know how to play the game, and when it comes down to it they buckle down and play with confidence and it's nice to see," Quiricone said. "We have a mix of veterans and freshmen and we're gelling as a team."
The Wreckers (3-5) got off to a positive start when Gillian Birk and Lily Tofel each had RBI hits to help Staples claim a 3-1 lead after the first inning. Natoli only allowed one run the rest of the way.
"We made a few errors we shouldn't have and that opened the door to give them three runs," Quiricone said. "I think our defense needed to settle down and we did."
Warde grabbed the lead in the third inning as Brianna West crushed a home run over the center field fence and Shannon McCarthy had an RBI single that scored an extra run on an error.
"We gave away a bunch of runs and we lost by a run," Staples coach Charlie Judge said. "We've been getting better and better, the kids are learning. If we played Warde the first week of the season we would have lost by eight runs."
With the Mustangs leading 4-3, the Wreckers tied it up in the bottom on the sixth on an RBI double by catcher Nicola Schenck.
Warde pounded out 16 hits but was kept off the scoreboard in several innings as the Wreckers escaped several jams. In the top of the sixth the Mustangs loaded the bases with one out, but Staples starter Emily Lustbader struck out a batter and got a pair of groundouts in the frame.
Warde 5, Staples 4
WARDE 103 000 1 -- 5 16 2
STAPLES 300 001 0 -- 4 7 2
Records: Warde 8-2, 6-2 FCIAC; Staples 3-5, 1-5 FCIAC.
Batteries: W--Gabby Natoli (W), Kayla Bivens (S) and Katie Goodchild. S--Emily Lustbader (L) and Nicola Schenck.