The Staples High softball team didn't have too much trouble generating base runners against Greenwich pitcher Allison Kach on Friday evening.
The Wreckers did, however, have trouble scoring them.
Despite allowing five hits and walking six, Kach kept the damage to a minimum, helping Greenwich edge the Wreckers 2-1 at Greens Farms Elementary School.
"She just buckled down. She made the pitches," Greenwich coach Mary Beth Fratello said of Kach. "She either struck them out or had easy pop ups, grounders. ... We just made the plays. We didn't make any mistakes."
Staples (9-8, 7-8 FCIAC) stranded 11 runners -- including nine in scoring position -- through five innings as the Cardinals (12-4, 11-3) nursed a 2-1 lead.
In the fifth inning, the Wreckers loaded the bases with one out following a single and two walks, but Kach got herself out of trouble. Much like she did all evening, the Cardinals' left-hander got a strikeout and pop out to maintain the one-run lead.
"Even when we had our chances, we actually had the batters up that we wanted up," Staples coach Sara Holland said. "Tonight unfortunately was not their night. Just as I told (my players), I would want that same person to be back up again, because they've been coming through every single time."
Following a one-out walk in the fifth, Kach settled in and soon erased any hopes Staples might have had. She retired the final eight batters she faced to close out the complete-game win.
"The last two innings, I think she started to throw harder," Fratello said. "I think she was getting mad. She wanted to win this game. ... She just beared down. She was going to carry the team today."
Kach, a senior, said she learned how to approach certain batters as the game went along.
"Throughout the game I did figure out which pitches to throw to which girls," Kach said, "so that was a good feeling."
Trailing 1-0, the Cardinals jumped ahead in the fifth inning, plating two runs off Staples starter Nikki Bukovsky. After second baseman Colleen Bennett tripled with one out, Kach tied it 1-1 with a single. Catcher Erin Ferguson gave the Cardinals a 2-1 lead with a double one batter later.
"It was nice to finally get some runs on the board," Kach said.
The Cardinals recorded eight hits off Bukovsky and one more off reliever Katie Burke, who entered in the sixth and tossed two innings of scoreless relief. Although both pitchers limited the Cardinals' bats, the Wreckers never delivered the clutch hit that was needed. The Wreckers left the bases loaded in two separate innings.
Staying focused even when she finally had the lead, Kach made sure to limit the Wreckers' chances.
"The pressure was definitely still on because at any given moment, the girl could've hit a triple or a double and it would've added more pressure," said Kach, who struck out seven on the night. "I definitely wasn't laid back at all during the game."
First baseman Katherine Friend produced Staples' lone run with a single in the fourth inning.
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GREENWICH 2, STAPLES 1
GREENWICH 020 000 0 -- 2 9 0
STAPLES 000 100 0 -- 1 5 2
Records: Greenwich 12-4, 11-3 FCIAC; Staples 9-8, 7-8.
Batteries: G -- Allison Kach (W) and Erin Ferguson; S -- Nikki Bukovsky (L), Katie Burke (6) and Maggie Mills.
Highlights: G -- Kach pitched a complete game, striking out seven. She also batted 2-for-4 with an RBI. Ferguson hit the go-ahead run-scoring double. Colleen Bennett went 3-for-4 with a triple. S -- Katherine Friend hit an RBI single.