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East Lyme — Sal Fiorillo, an East Lyme guy, wanted a non-conference opponent that would challenge his Morgan softball team this year. So he scheduled his old school.
The Huskies didn't get East Lyme's best Wednesday. The Vikings lost their first game of the season, 4-1, on a blustery day at Veterans Field.
"They know they didn't play well, or they didn't play up to their potential," East Lyme coach Judy Deeb said of her team. "I kind of think we took them for granted."
Fiorillo considered it the best win of the young season for Morgan (4-2). His team battled early injuries and lost to St. Bernard last Wednesday, 7-1.
Fiorillo was also happy because the game was a homecoming of sorts for him. He graduated from East Lyme in 1986. Deeb had been his physical education teacher and is a friend. He also used to accompany his late father, Sal Sr., to the field for the latter's rec softball games.
"Anybody who has as many wins as her (a state-record 565), to beat a team that she coaches, it's just an honor," Fiorillo said. "I have so much respect for her as a person and as a coach, and particularly a teacher, too. We scheduled this game on purpose. ... They are a tremendously good hitting team. Down the lineup, they don't have any easy outs.
"I grew up on this field. … I'm looking up at the sky as (my dad) is not with me anymore. I'm looking at him. He's here today, so I'm really proud of that."
East Lyme (5-1) had averaged 6.4 runs a game prior to Wednesday.
"You have to give them credit," Deeb said. "Defensively, they were outstanding. They made the plays. Their pitcher (sophomore Emily Popp) kept us off balance. She had a really nice changeup. It took us too long to adjust."
Popp pitched a five-hitter with three strikeouts and no walks.
"She was all-state last year and was just tremendous," Fiorillo said. "Her curve ball, it just had a bite to it all game. We kept them uncomfortable with her changeup. They were out in front on a lot of pitches."
Kaylie Crosby doubled down the third base line to start the East Lyme half of the first inning. She went to third on a passed ball, and scored on Samantha Horner's sacrifice fly.
Kelsey Donaldson singled to start the Morgan second inning. She reached second base safely on an error hit by Popp. The runners moved over a base on a passed ball. Angelina Taylor hit a two-run single with two outs.
Morgan's Lily Dawson tripled with one out in the third and scored on Jen Dawson's double.
Jen Dawson went to third on a fielder's choice and scored on a two-out error to push the Huskies ahead, 4-1.
Morgan Lloyd and Welch hit back-to-back singles in the bottom of the seventh for East Lyme, but Popp retired the next three batters for the win.
"Sometimes, as they say, a loss kind of motivates your team a little bit more," Deeb said. "So that's my purpose the next couple of days.
"We're going to have some good practices and move on from there."