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  • Greg Lederer

Cheshire Softball, Boys' Lacrosse, And Boys' V-Ball Teams Open States With Big Wins, Boys' Tennis Team Comes Up Short In Semis

From left on Wednesday, Jordan McCue, Jenica Matos, Karla Carangelo, and Tai Byrd contributed to Cheshire softball winning 13-0 over New Canaan. Photo by Greg Lederer.

by Greg Lederer

Cheshire Sports Media

After a bye in the Class LL Tournament, Cheshire High School softball (top seed, 23-1) opened states with a convincing performance on Wednesday. CHS posted a 13-0 victory over New Canaan (17th seed, 13-9) in five innings, extending their win streak to 19 games.

Sophomore Jenica Matos pitched a no-hitter with 11 strikeouts and three walks, while junior Tai Byrd and senior Karla Carangelo combined for three home runs.

The Rams set the tone immediately by putting up eight runs in the first inning. Sophomore Jordan McCue and Ava Pearson led off with singles in front of Byrd, who smacked a three-run home run to put the Rams ahead to stay.

“I think it was definitely a big relief for myself because I always get a little bit nervous with these state games and SCC games,” explained Byrd. “I hope it was a relief for everyone else like getting a few runs in to start.”

Carangelo (double), junior Erin Hersh (walk), and junior Bailey Vitanza (single) reached to load the bases again. NC picked up two strikeouts, but senior Emma Ballschmieder and McCue responded with consecutive two-run doubles.

Pearson followed with an RBI single in the first.

“I think it definitely helped us out to come out the box just swinging and get that home run,” stated McCue.

In the circle, Matos struck out the side during the second and fifth innings.

“It was comforting going in with eight runs on the board (after the first inning),” reflected Matos. “I felt comfortable that the team had my back.”

Cheshire extended their lead during the third inning. McCue picked up her third hit on a single and then scored on Byrd’s second home run of the game.

Just seconds later, Carangelo blasted a home run to straight center to propel the Rams to an 11-0 lead.

“I always say that it is hard hitting behind Tai,” stated Carangelo. “You know she is a really skilled hitter. It is really hard to prepare yourself to step into the box when you have someone who hits the ball as hard as her. When I get in the box, I always think line drives and zone low, so hitting a home run was a little different for me.”

The Rams capped the scoring in the fifth. Byrd walked and Carangelo reached on an error.

With two outs, Vitanza came through with a two-run double to score sophomore pinch runner Addison Coffey and Carangelo.

Due to the mercy rule, the game was called in the fifth.

Pearson singled twice in the victory.

Hersh reached three times (two walks, hit by pitch). In coming in to run for her, sophomore Avery Radford scored in the first inning.

Sophomore Lyla Blair and senior Taylor Kozlowski also worked walks.

In the quarterfinals on Friday, CHS hosts Newtown (ninth seed, 18-7) at 4:15 p.m.

For CHS softball, Tai Byrd hit two home runs on Wednesday.

After softball teammate Tai Byrd homered in the third inning, Cheshire's Karla Carangelo smacked a pitch over the fence in center field.

Boys' Tennis (fourth seed, 17-6)

The Rams came up short 5-1 to Wilton (eighth seed, 13-6) in the Class L quarterfinals. At number three singles, freshman Mark Laskin won 6-0, 6-1 to finish unbeaten (23-0) for the Rams.

Boys’ Lacrosse (top seed, 15-4)

In the Class L Second Round, Cheshire scored early and often in a 26-4 victory over East Catholic (17th seed, 8-10). CHS went up 11-2 in the first quarter and outscored the Eagles 8-0 in the second.

“It was good,” stated senior Adam Vernon. “We got off quick. We got up on them early, so it's always good to kind of get a message out there. I think all of the guys were really meshing well. There were a lot of assisted goals, so that is really all you can ask for, but at the end of the day, it is on to the next one (game).”

Vernon (six goals, three assists), senior tri-captains Matt Jeffery (two goals, five assists) and Ryan Grove (hat trick), junior Brady Potyrala (goal, four assists), senior Drew DePodesta (hat trick), junior Nick Miller (goal), and freshman Grant Paul (goal) tallied all of their points in the opening half. Grove controlled 16 of 18 face-offs.

Sophomore JC Sutherland and junior Ryan Ciupa also scored during the first half. Sutherland ended up with two goals and an assist.

Junior Josiah Johnson-Charles earned a goal and two assists. Sophomore Charlie Golden and freshmen Trey McCauley and Logan Pacini secured their first goals and points.

Golden additionally won four of six face-offs.

“It is awesome. You see a couple guys get their first varsity goals of their careers (and) some of the first of the season,” stated Vernon. “A lot of great memories for guys, so it is always fun to see that happen for some young guys.”

Juniors Tommy Wilkinson (assist) and Aniston Marsh also found the back of the net. Classmate Luke Mongillo went five-for-seven on face-offs.

Junior Joe Grenier made four saves in net. Freshmen Eric Gorman and Jeremy Matos supplied two saves each off the bench.

On Saturday, CHS faces Fairfield Warde (ninth seed, 11-6) in the quarterfinals. Start time is 3 p.m.

“It is super surreal. It is last home game here ever (at Alumni Field),” said Vernon. “It is definitely going to be a really emotional game for all of the seniors. I think were definitely going to be really prepared (and) ready to go, so I’m really excited for it.”

In the first half on Wednesday, lacrosse player Drew DePodesta earned a hat trick on feeds like this one from Adam Vernon.

Boys’ Volleyball (third seed, 20-3)

The Rams extended their win streak to 12 matches, posting a 3-0 sweep (25-16, 25-18, 25-7) of SMSA/Bulkeley (14th seed, 8-13) in the Class M First Round. For setting, sophomore Bradley Fang recorded seven assists and junior Bryan Rochefort supplied six assists and a kill.

Junior Gordon Johns served five aces, along with tallying three digs and three kills. Tri-captains, junior Matti Lilback (two aces, two blocks) and senior Will Allen (dig), both picked up four kills.

Senior tri-captain Connor Hayes contributed two assists, two blocks, two kills, an ace, and a dig. Junior James O’Connor chipped in two aces, two kills, an assist, and a dig.

Junior Jake Tierney garnered six digs.

For their quarterfinal on Friday, Cheshire plays Newtown (sixth seed, 17-6) at 6 p.m. On May 9, the Rams won the first meeting, 3-0, on the road.

Boys’ Golf (12-3)

CHS capped the regular season with a 157-165 victory over Portland at Southington Country Club. Senior captain Jack Brewster, senior Josh Wildstein, and junior Dylan Gillotti all shot a 39, while junior Jack DeJoseph had a 40.

On June 5 at Fairview Farm Golf Course in Harwinton, the Rams play in the Division I Championship. Start time is 8 a.m.

Girls’ Golf (13-4)

In their regular-season finale at Southington CC, CHS fell 183-196 to Amity. Senior captain Sophia DelRosso and junior Olivia Beach tied with a 45. Junior Haley Hannan posted a 50 and junior Piper Dooling secured a 56.

Junior Kaitlin Cannavaro added a 57.

On Thursday, the Rams visit Southbury’s Silo Point Country Club for the Southern Connecticut Conference Championship at 9 a.m.

Remainder of Thursday’s varsity schedule:

Outdoor Track and Field

Cheshire boys and girls head to New Britain’s Willow Brook Park for the Class L Championship. Field events kick off at 3 p.m. and the track races start at 3:30 p.m.

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