West Haven - There are some things that are just on the "no way" list when it comes to potential sporting feats.
Such as: Mystic played a doubleheader in the Junior League Softball (ages 13-14) Eastern Regional tournament Wednesday in what counted as the elimination round, making three games in two days.
Mystic also played a game in pool play Tuesday and needed ace pitcher Caroline Taber to throw 10 innings in an 11-inning victory over Westerly, just to reach Wednesday's slate. Once Taber pitched her allotment of innings Tuesday, she was ineligible Wednesday to pitch in either game.
Meanwhile, the West Shore team from West Haven that Mystic faced in the New England championship game Wednesday was coming off a bye in pool play Tuesday. West Shore, the top seed, also had a bye into the New England championship game, giving the team the freedom to pitch whomever coach Jocelyn Chang chose. Grand total of games for West Shore on Tuesday and Wednesday? One.
"A circus," Mystic coach Tom Taber called the schedule of events.
And yet there was Mystic, uniforms caked with grunge. Running, hitting, bunting, willing itself to be competitive in a situation where it could easily have not been.
Mystic avenged a previous loss by beating East Biddeford, Maine, in the morning, 8-6, earning a date with West Shore for a chance to play in today's Eastern Regional title game against Cumberland County, N.J.
Mystic lost 13-5, but was within 7-5 going into the bottom of the sixth. West Shore center fielder Teresa Marchitto also made a spectacular running catch off a towering shot hit by Mystic's Olivia Knotts in the third inning that would have driven in two more runs.
"I think our team's motto is not to give up," said Mystic's Haley Flax, who turned in one of the gutsiest performances of the day, pitching in both games with confidence despite not having overwhelming speed. "The other teams don't matter. It's just us who matters. Winning in the morning boosted our confidence.
"We definitely proved ourselves."
Against East Biddeford, the No. 2 seed, Flax pitched a complete game, allowing just three hits for the first six innings as No. 3 Mystic led 8-2.
"I've coached her since she was 9, so I know she's rock steady," Tom Taber said. "It's all about, 'Hit that outside corner.' All day long."
East Biddeford finally caught up to her, scoring four times in the seventh, as the first five batters reached base. Mystic forced two runners at the plate on ground balls. Then, with the bases loaded and the lead cut to two runs, Flax got a groundout to shortstop to end the game.
Mackenzie Aldridge, the team's usual center fielder, was at short due to a previous family commitment by shortstop Jackie Lewis, who was out of town. Aldridge had 15 fielding chances, finishing with nine assists and four putouts.
"She was like my hero for the game," Flax said. "She stopped them all."
Knotts and Katie Grant each had RBI doubles for Mystic.
Against West Shore, consisting of players from three different towns - including hard-throwing left-handed pitcher Katie Koshes who will be a freshman next year at Amity of Woodbridge - Mystic scored a run in the first when Aldridge walked and scored on a groundout by Taber.
West Shore started pitcher Kial Watts, bringing in Koshes to start the fifth after Mystic scored three times in the fourth to pull within 7-5. Koshes struck out seven in three scoreless innings.
Taber had two hits and three RBI against West Shore and Aldridge walked three times and scored twice. Aldridge and Taber both had RBI in the fourth.
Mystic started pitcher Lauren Szczesny, but went back to Flax in the fourth. She pitched two scoreless innings before allowing six runs on five hits and an error in the sixth.
"We fought to become Connecticut champs and we fought today," Tom Taber said. "We tell the kids, 'You guys play. We'll take care of all the planning. You go and play the game.' We're like a dad. … It's a great group of girls. I hope I have a lot of them again next year."