Over the last week, Newington baseballâ€™s Jack Kelley and New Britain softballâ€™s Makaila Masterson both helped their respective teams earn victories.
This past season hasnâ€™t been the best for Masterson, after she transferred to New Britain High School. But Thursday afternoon during the Hurricanesâ€™ senior night game against Wethersfield, Masterson finally got out of her slump. The junior went 2-for-3 at the plate, driving in five runs and hitting two home runs.
â€śWe were all pumped up,â€ť Masterson said. â€śI just wanted to do my job and get the win, especially for those who are seniors. This hasnâ€™t been my best season, especially in the middle of the season, but those hits definitely helped me out.â€ť
New Britain head coach Joel Simmone had been waiting for that moment for Masterson all season long.
â€śShe has the quickest hand Iâ€™ve ever seen,â€ť Simmone said. â€śAnd when sheâ€™s in the cage, sheâ€™s breaking buckets. She hit two tremendous home runs on Thursday. Sheâ€™s a sweet, sweet girl, but deadly with a bat.â€ť
Since the first day of practice this season, Simmone knew he had a special group of girls. For the first time, the Hurricanes competed for the CCC North Colonial Division title Monday evening.
â€śThis group is real special,â€ť Simmone said. â€śThereâ€™s no drama, and Masterson fits in perfectly. There are a lot of special things happening with this team.â€ť
Newington was led by a strong performance from the mound by Jack Kelley on Wednesday afternoon, in a 9-1 victory over Goodwin Tech.
The right-hander went six innings and gave up just one run and four hits, while striking out six Gladiators.
Although the game ended well for Kelley, it didnâ€™t start off that way.
â€śIt wasnâ€™t really the start I wanted or anyone on the team wanted,â€ť Kelley said. â€śI gave up the solo shot in the first inning, putting us in an early hole.â€ť
Other than that one bad pitch, Kelley and the Indians cruised through the rest of the game.
â€śI threw strikes and when Goodwin Tech hit the ball, our defense was there to make the play,â€ť Kelley said. â€śIt makes my job easier knowing that I have a great defense behind me making the plays. I felt like my off-speed was keeping them off balance, making them roll over. As a team we played great all around.â€ť
Newington is in the midst of a hot streak, winning its last five games. With just one more left in the regular season, the Indians have their eyes on something quite large - the state title.
â€śWe need to stay hot and want to finish the season on top,â€ť Kelley said. â€śWeâ€™ve put in a lot of hard work and I donâ€™t want our season to end a week from now. When Iâ€™m on the mound, I donâ€™t want to give up a run from here on out. If I can do that, all we need is a run and weâ€™re on to the next round. I think each start Iâ€™ve gotten better and over the past few games as a team weâ€™ve gotten better.â€ť
â€śI would love to finish my junior year with both the conference and state titles for our team,â€ť he added. â€śIt would be great to have that energy flow into the summer on my summer team and ultimately, after next year, play in college.â€ť
Shelby Iava can be reached at (860)801-5096 or firstname.lastname@example.org