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  • Greg Lederer

Matos Pitches Saturday Shutout For Cheshire Softball, Boys' LAX Team Wins Rivalry Thriller

From left, Tai Byrd, Jenica Matos, Ava Pearson, and Erin Hersh posed after Cheshire softball won 10-0 in the home opener. Photo by Greg Lederer.

by Greg Lederer

Cheshire Sports Media

In their home opener on Saturday, Cheshire High School softball improved to 2-0 with a 10-0 victory over Fairfield Warde (0-2). Sophomore Jenica Matos (2-0) pitched a one-hit shutout with 17 strikeouts (personal high) and four walks.

“I feel good,” said Matos. “I had to relax and take it one pitch at a time today. I know that I have a good defense behind me.”

The Mustangs walked twice in the first inning, however, Matos struck out the side.

Matos didn’t give up a hit in the first four innings. Junior Caitlin DiBernardis led off the fifth with a double to left, but Matos picked up two strikeouts and induced a ground out to keep the Mustangs scoreless.

Matos made two starts as a freshman, but with the graduation of two-year starter Karissa Spring, she is expected to play a bigger role this spring. Head Coach Kristine Drust feels good about how Matos has prepared for the season.

“She has worked so hard,” said Drust. “Our focus has been on building up her stamina for seven innings. She was popping the glove for the whole game today.”

Offensively, CHS jumped ahead in the bottom of the first. Sophomores Jordan McCue (walk) and Ava Pearson (single) reached to lead off the inning and then junior Tai Byrd smacked a two-run single to right field.

“It was good to start us off,” recalled Byrd. “I was a little nervous about adjusting to the wind today, but it worked out.”

“Offensively, she works hard,” added Drust. “She comes into every at bat with a plan and you can see the results of that.”

Cheshire broke through for five runs in the third. Pearson led off with a walk and scored on an RBI double by Byrd.

“If I get on base, I know that the girls will bring me home,” explained Pearson.

Senior Karla Carangelo reached on a fielder’s choice and then junior catcher Erin Hersh contributed an RBI single. Sophomore Lyla Blair hit an infield grounder and a throwing error allowed Carangelo and sophomore Avery Radford to score on the play.

CHS went up 7-0 when junior Bailey Vitanza smacked an RBI single to bring in Blair.

In the fourth inning, Pearson posted a leadoff double and scored after a pair of wild pitches.

The Rams capped the scoring in the sixth. Pearson earned her second double and Byrd worked a walk.

Carangelo followed up with her second single, driving in Pearson. After senior Taylor Kozlowski walked, Hersh contributed a sacrifice fly to bring in Byrd for a 10-0 advantage.

Pearson reached base all four times she came to the plate.

“Ava is on fire,” said Drust. “She is swinging the bat so well. She looks in mid-season form right now.”

Senior Emma Ballschmieder and junior Julia Miller added singles in the victory.

This Monday, Cheshire hosts Career Magnet (1-0) at 4:30 p.m.

Boys’ Lacrosse (3-1)

CHS pulled out a 14-13 victory at La Salle Academy in Rhode Island. La Salle took a 4-1 lead in the opening quarter, but Cheshire scored seven times in the second to rally for an 8-7 advantage at halftime.

La Salle tied the game at 10-10 going to the fourth quarter. The teams were deadlocked at 13-13, but senior tri-captain Matt Jeffery netted the game-winner with four seconds remaining.

Jeffery finished with six goals and four assists, while senior Adam Vernon tallied three goals and three assists. Senior tri-captain Ryan Grove controlled 14 of 28 face-offs.

Junior Sean Grevelding and freshman Grant Paul both netted two shots. Paul tied his personal-high goal total.

Senior tri-captain Lucas Chymbor recorded his first goal and also picked up a point. Junior goalkeeper Joe Grenier compiled a career-best 14 saves.

In the home opener this Tuesday, CHS plays Notre Dame-West Haven (2-0) at 6:30 p.m.

Baseball (0-3)

The Rams fell 20-2 to host Ridgefield (1-2) at Governor Park. Cheshire struck first immediately on the first home run from senior co-captain Kyle Cyr, but Ridgefield answered with three runs in the bottom of the first inning and then broke open the game with 11 runs during the second.

Ridgefield scored again in the third. Cheshire answered with junior Bennett Crerar’s first home run in the fourth inning, however, the Tigers plated five runs in the bottom half.

Due to the mercy rule, the game was called at the end of the fifth inning.

Senior Chris Kobylanski added a single for the Rams. Junior Jackson Enders and senior Max Bernstein added walks.

Sophomore Nick Giampietro (nine hits, three walks), junior Jerry Piscitelli (seven hits, three strikeouts, walk), and senior Jacob Jalowiec (walk) made their Cheshire pitching debuts. Sophomore Dylan Scalice (four hits, two walks, strikeout) also pitched in relief.

This Monday, CHS comes home to face West Haven (1-2) at 4:30 p.m.

With April being Autism Awareness Month, the Rams will use raffles and sell custom jerseys to raise money for Sun, Moon & Stars, Inc. For families with Autism, the organization strives to provide opportunities for individuals to participate in activities, events, and program, along with building a strong community within Greater Waterbury and surrounding areas.

Sun, Moon & Stars President and Board Chairman Christine Faressa and local youngsters will throw out ceremonial first pitches on Monday.

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