NEW BRITAIN - Joel Simmone has played Newington 11 times in his four years heâ€™s been the New Britain head softball coach and each time came away with a loss.
That was until Thursday afternoon when the Hurricane used a three-run first inning on their way to a 4-2 win over the Indians.
â€śThese girls get me emotional and the [assistant] coach called a great game pitching,â€ť Simmone said. â€śWe made great plays, we made the hits in the beginning when we needed them and thatâ€™s really it. Iâ€™m just really happy.â€ť
Gabrielle Roy, Gianna Gonzalez and Amanda Jacobs provided back-to-back-back RBI in the bottom of the first inning that proved to be the difference in the game.
Roy singled the first pitch she saw, driving in Cristina Velazquez, who had reached third on an error. Gonzalez then stepped up to the plate and on a 3-1 count, tripled to bring in Roy, while Jacobs closed out the Hurricanesâ€™ scoring in the first with a single of her own.
â€śItâ€™s a huge win for us,â€ť Roy said. â€śNewington for softball has definitely been one of our rivals. They always have great teams every year. They always have great people and a great coach. Today was just a big W.â€ť
The Hurricanes had a chance to tack on some more runs in the first, threatening with a bases-loaded, two-out situation, but Newingtonâ€™s Danielle Pantano struck out Jada Lawson to get out of the jam and prevent any more damage.
â€śNew Britain definitely got off to a good start,â€ť Pantano said. â€śOur defense wasnâ€™t the strongest in the first inning, but we were able to get our bats going later on and we just hung in there.â€ť
Newington was able to get a run back in the top of the second.
After Pantono reached first on a fielding error, Morgan Stegmaier singled and Yasmin Rincon was hit by a pitch to load the bases. But after Josleen Rivera stuck out McKenna DeLucca, Prachi Dave drew a walk to bring Pantono home. But the Indians too left the bases loaded to end the inning.
â€śNew Britain came out ready to play and we didnâ€™t come out as well as we should have,â€ť Newington head coach Steve Markie said. â€śThey jumped on us, we battled and hung in there, you just canâ€™t get yourself down and then try to chase teams. We got kids on base. We just didnâ€™t score when we needed to.â€ť
The Hurricanes, however, got the run back in the bottom of the frame. Pantano struck Rivera with the ball to put her on first. After a Velazquez walk, Rivera Roy singled to drive in her second RBI of the game.
â€śWe just started off and we had a good positive vibe and kept with it the entire game,â€ť Rivera said. â€śEven though it was cold, it was really cold and we didnâ€™t let that stop us.â€ť
The Indiansâ€™ final run came in the fourth on an Amanda Akerley ground out that brought DeLucca home.
New Britain remained in control the rest of the way.
â€śThis team is much different than any other team Iâ€™ve had,â€ť Simmone said. â€śOur schedule is much different. I think, honestly, thereâ€™s not a team weâ€™re afraid of to play. I think we will be competitive with everyone that we face. If we make plays and [Rivera] pitches and we swing the bat, anything could happen.â€ť
Shelby Iava can be reached at (860) 801-5096 or firstname.lastname@example.org