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  • Greg Lederer

Rams Softball Rallies To Beat Law In Monday's SCC Quarters, Tennis Teams Compete In Semis At Amity, Boys' V-Ball Team Extends Win Streak.

On Monday, Cheshire softball's Tai Byrd had a home run, a double, and a single against Jonathan Law. Photo by Greg Lederer.

Before playing Jonathan Law, CHS softball held Senior Day for players (from left) Taylor Kozlowski, Karla Carangelo, and Emma Ballschmieder. Photo courtesy of Corley Fleming.

by Greg Lederer

Cheshire Sports Media

On Monday, Cheshire High School softball (top seed, 20-1) battled to pull out a 9-7 victory over Jonathan Law (eighth seed, 13-8) in the Southern Connecticut Conference quarterfinals. Trailing 7-5, the Rams cut the deficit in half during the fifth inning and then scored three times in the sixth to rally for their 16th consecutive victory on Senior Day.

“There was no doubt,” said sophomore Ava Pearson, of her team being able to come back from a deficit. “I had no doubt and neither did the coaches (or) nobody. We knew we have it takes to come back and it was just awesome.”

In the bottom of the fifth, junior catcher Erin Hersh worked a leadoff walk, stole second base, and came around to score on an RBI ground out by sophomore Lyla Blair. Sophomore Molly Fleming reached on an error, but soon after, an interference call allowed Law to get out of the inning with the lead.

Law walked twice in the top of the sixth, however, sophomore pitcher Jenica Matos ended the inning with a strikeout. Cheshire picked up their comeback in the bottom half.

Pearson reached on a single. Law junior pitcher Maddy Bull induced a pop out, however, the Rams manufactured a two-out rally from there. 

Senior Karla Carangelo and Hersh walked to load the bases and then junior Bailey Vitanza was hit by a pitch to tie the game at 7-7.

“We weren’t getting down each other,” said Carangelo, of when the Rams fell behind. “After Ava (Pearson) got on, I got myself on base and we kept it going.”

In a clutch spot, Blair hit an infield single to the left side. Junior pinch runner Julia Miller scored first on the play and when Law tried to get the third out at home plate, the ball went through the glove of freshman catcher Chloe Capalbo and Hersh slid in safely.

“It felt really good,” reflected Blair. “It (the situation) was high intensity. I knew that I had the girls behind me in the dugout. I wanted to come through for them and put the bat on the ball.”

In the bottom of the seventh, Matos struck out the first two batters and then Pearson made a diving catch in right to end the game.

“It was a long game, so we knew that those last three outs meant a lot (in) the top of seventh,” stated Pearson. “I saw it (the ball) coming at me and I knew I needed to do everything I could do to catch it.”

CHS went 3-0 against Law this year, but unlike their last win (13-1) on April 29 in Milford, Monday’s game was tight from start to finish.

Law jumped ahead 2-0 in the top of the first inning. Freshman Lily Stankevich (hit by pitch), Bull (single), and freshman Julia Scibek (walked) reached to lead off the inning. Senior Grace Hess was hit by a pitch to drive in the first run and then Law picked up another run on an RBI ground out by sophomore Sophia Scarpa.

The Rams hadn’t faced a deficit since taking their only loss (10-6) to Masuk on April 13, but they bounced back quickly on Monday. In the bottom of the first, sophomore Jordan McCue led off with a walk and then junior Tai Byrd tied the game with a two-run home run to right.

“I think it was a big relief for myself and for everyone else, but then it still put the pressure on,” explained Byrd. “We were still at a 0-0 game, so we still had to go in and get more runs and make more outs.”  

CHS took a 3-2 lead in the second, as Fleming doubled and then scored on a wild pitch. In the top of the third, Law drew even when Hess hit an RBI double to bring in Scibek.

Cheshire responded with two runs in the bottom of the third. Byrd reached on a leadoff double and scored on an RBI sacrifice fly by Carangelo.

Hersh, Vitanza, and Blair walked consecutively to load the bases in front of Fleming, who hit an RBI sacrifice fly to propel Cheshire to a 5-3 advantage.

The score remained the same until the fifth when Law broke through for four runs. Bull and Scibek led off with doubles to cut the deficit to 5-4.

Hess, Scarpa, and Capalbo walked to tie the game and then an infield fielding error allowed Law to score two more runs.

In facing a 7-5 deficit, the Rams felt that keeping the game simple was key to their four-run rally to victory.

“At that point, I think everybody was just thinking the same thing,” said Byrd. “It doesn’t have to be a big hit. You don’t have to be the hero, just get on base, and get things going, and I think that is exactly what everyone did.”

In also singling in the win, Byrd came within one hit of hitting for the cycle. Carangelo added a single in the win.

Matos recorded 11 strikeouts. She yielded six hits, seven walks, and two hit-by-pitches.

Prior to the game, CHS held a ceremony to honor Emma Ballschmieder, Carangelo, and Taylor Kozlowski.

“It felt great,” said Ballschmieder, of winning on Senior Day. “We had a lot of confidence in all of the girls to come through today.”

For semifinal action on Tuesday at 4 p.m., Cheshire plays Mercy (fifth seed, 15-6) at West Haven.

On Monday, CHS softball tied Jonathan Law, 2-2, on a two-run home run by Tai Byrd in the first inning.

In the sixth inning, Lyla Blair hit a two-out, two-run single to propel CHS softball to a 9-7 victory over Jonathan Law.

Girls’ Tennis (third seed, 12-3)

Due to darkness, CHS had their SCC semi suspended, with the score tied 3-3 at Amity (second seed, 13-3) in Woodbridge. In the final match at number one singles, junior Leah Pisani leads 6-4, 3-2.

The match will be picked up on Tuesday at 9 a.m. The winning team will advance to play Guilford (top seed, 21-1) in the final at 11 a.m.

Boys’ Tennis (third seed, 15-5)

In their SCC semi, the Rams fell 6-1 at Amity (second seed, 17-2). At number three singles, freshman Mark Laskin won 6-4, 6-2 to remain unbeaten at 20-0.

CHS now awaits seeding for the Class L Tournament.

Boys’ Volleyball (17-3)

To end the regular season, Cheshire recorded their ninth straight victory, 3-1 (25-22, 25-16, 21-25, 25-19), at South Windsor (12-5). Sophomore setter Bradley Fang finished with 40 assists, seven digs, three kills, two aces, and a block.

Junior tri-captain Matti Lilback tallied 15 kills, four aces, four digs, and two blocks. Senior tri-captain Connor Hayes secured nine kills, two digs, and a block.

Junior Gordon Johns posted seven kills, four aces, two digs, and a block. Senior tri-captain Will Allen contributed six kills, three aces, two digs, and an assist.

Junior Jacob D’Addona compiled five kills, two digs, and an assist, while classmate Jake Tierney picked up eight digs.

CHS has secured the top seed in the SCC Tournament. On Wednesday, the Rams will host Amity (fourth seed, 7-13) or Daniel Hand (fifth seed, 0-19) in semifinal action at 6 p.m.

Remainder of Tuesday’s varsity schedule:

Outdoor Track and Field

CHS boys and girls visit Amity for the SCC Championship at 1 p.m.

Boys’ Golf (9-3)

From The Farms Country Club in Wallingford, Cheshire plays Foran at 2:30 p.m.

Girls’ Golf (10-3)

The Rams travel to Stratford’s Oronoque Country Club to face host Lauralton Hall at 2:30 p.m.

Girls’ Lacrosse (second seed, 9-7)

In the SCC semifinals, Cheshire hosts Amity (third seed 12-5) at 4:30 p.m. Back on April 10, CHS won 8-4 over the Spartans. 

Boys’ Lacrosse (second seed, 13-3)

In their SCC semi, the Rams welcome Notre Dame-West Haven (third seed, 11-3) at 6:30 p.m. On April 9, Cheshire won 17-10 in the first meeting.

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