Softball Seymour survives, reaches NVL title game
SEYMOUR — It’s been an odd softball season for Seymour. Accustomed to dominating the league, the Wildcats have battled through all kinds of adversity this year.
Slugger Sierra Cripps was lost for the year with a broken leg at midseason and wins haven’t come as easily as the likes of St. Paul, Oxford and Holy Cross have challenged the Seymour for NVL supremacy.
Yet, the No. 3-seeded Wildcats will still get a chance to play for a fourth-consecutive league title. Seymour outlasted NVL Player of the Year Abby Poirot and No. 2-seeded St. Paul, 5-4, in the semifinals Wednesday at Seymour High School.
Senior Jenna Geffert, who relieved starter Molly Adamo in the bottom of the sixth, battled out of a two-on, no-out jam in the the seventh to secure the victory.
“I feel really confident,” Geffert said. “Molly’s a great pitcher and we always back each other up. … She was pitching great, I just had to come in and close it down.”
St. Paul put the leadoff man aboard in six of the game’s seven innings and the Falcons led off the seventh with a walk by Katrina Roy and Jessica Pereschino. Both later advanced into scoring position.
Despite the pressure, Geffert got a fly out to right, a groundout to first and then got the final batter, Rebecca Nerbonne, on another fly out to right-fielder Erin Lifrieri.
“There’s always a little nerves because you never know what can happen,” Geffert said. “But I trust my defense and I trust myself and I knew we could pull through.”
Seymour will face Oxford — a 6-0 winner over No. 8 seed Watertown in the other semifinal — in the NVL championship Thursday at 5:30 p.m. in Naugatuck.
“This league has been tough,” Seymour coach Ken Perieras said. “We’re used to playing the No. 8 game, where it’s a blowout. This time we were lucky to win the first game (a 4-3 win over No. 6-seeded Woodland) and our kids played great today.”
In a game befitting the split regular season matchups between these two squads, Seymour answered every challenge St. Paul could muster, and then some.
“I think that’s been the theme of our team all year,” Adamo said. “There have been multiple games where we’ve been down. We don’t give up and it’s always a different person coming through with a big play to put us back on top.”
St. Paul freshman Ava Hampton hit a solo home run to lead off the game. Seymour tied it up in the second and then took a 4-1 lead with a three-run third.
Morgan Teodosio and Kolby Sirowich hit back-to-back RBI singles (Sirowich’s was just fair down the left-field line) and Seymour added a third run on a wild pitch thrown by Poirot.
St. Paul rallied back to within a run twice more, but every time Seymour managed to keep it a one-run game with some spectacular defense.
Perseschino — who and Poirot hit back-to-back RBIs to get the Falcons within 4-3 in the third. But Seymour shortstop Laruen Haversat made a twisting grab in shallow left to end the inning, atoning for a dropped infield fly earlier in the inning.
Haversat followed her defensive stop with what turned out to be the winning RBI single in the top of the fourth.
Another Pereschino RBI — this time on a double — brought St. Paul to within 5-4 in fifth, but Adamo stranded her at second.
And in the sixth, with Geffert in the circle, Adamo made a diving grab of a line drive in left field to preserve the lead going into the seventh.
“It’s kind of been the expectation in Seymour that we make it (to the NVL championship game),” Adamo said. “Especially as a senior, we’ve made it every year. Getting there is the goal every season but winning is the next one.”
Oxford stunned Seymour 8-0 May 2, but just a few days later the Wildcats rallied to win a wild, 8-7 victory in Oxford.
Now comes the rubber match for the NVL title.
“It’s going to be fun,” Adamo said. “That’s all I can say.”
In the first game, Oxford made quick work of No. 8-seeded Watertown, 6-0.
Watertown was coming off an upset of top-seeded Holy Cross 12-2 in the quarterfinals, the first time in the NVL softball tournament’s history a No. 1 seed had been knocked from the quarterfinals.
“Yea, I was nervous…I’m always nervous,” coach Jim Husar said. “It depends on how the ball bounces this time of the year.”
Oxford took a four-run lead after two innings and then capped the victory with back-to-back home runs by Rose Reitmeyer and senior Kaylee Dolan in the fourth inning. For Reitmeyer, a freshman, it was her ninth home run of the year. Junior Sage Borkowski earned the shutout win on the mound.
“I think we played OK,” Husar said. “We played well defensively. I didn’t think we hit as well as we could hit.
“When we’re on, we hit pretty well. We work hard on hitting and, of course, our pitching keeps us in the game. The key to beating Seymour is you’ve got to have a little bit luck. They’re always favored to win.”
Seymour 5, St. Paul 4
SEYMOUR 013 100 0 — 5 8 3
ST. PAUL 102 100 0 — 4 9 2
Batteries: S—Molly Adamo (W), Jenna Geffery (6, S) and Kolby Sirowich; SP—Abby Poirot (L) and Katarina Roy.
HR: SP—Ava Hampton; 3B: S—Teodosio; 2B: S—Sirowich, Reilly Bronson; SP—Poirot, Perseschino, Roy, Hampton.