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No-hitter is perfect way for Fitch to end 20-0 regular season

By Vickie Fulkerson

Publication: The Day

Published May 24. 2014 4:00AM

Groton - They were celebrating finishing the season 20-0, on a no-hitter by sophomore pitcher Caroline Taber, no less, and decided to create a "2" and a "0" out of softballs on the outfield grass for the purpose of a photo session.

Let's just say the Fitch High School softball team's problem-solving capabilities were a lot better during a 15-0, six-inning victory over Bacon Academy than they were after.

"I don't think people understand how weird we are. ... Sometimes we wonder," said Fitch shortstop Jackie Lewis, a junior and the most veteran member of the team.

"They're a good group of kids. They are," interim coach Arielle Cooper said. "It reminds me a lot of when I was here (Cooper was on the Falcons' 2009 state championship team). Team cohesion is a big thing. There's discipline, too. But they are hilarious."

Taber, who also had three hits and two RBI, faced the minimum number of batters over the six innings. She allowed just one baserunner, a fifth-inning walk to Bacon's Kelly Ann Kessler, who was promptly doubled off second base on a line drive to first baseman Jayden Delaporta.

Taber struck out nine, including the side in both the second and sixth innings.

Lewis added three hits, including a double, and scored three times, while Delaporta also had three hits and five RBI and Taylor Wolfgang three hits. It was Lewis, in fact, that embodied the message Cooper has been trying to send to her team: hustle everywhere.

Lewis singled and stole second in the third and scored from there on an RBI single by Taber. In the fourth, Lewis doubled into the gap in left-center field and, one play later, scored from second on a bunt single by Jo Hobert.

"I told them we need to be more aggressive on the bases," Cooper said. "We need to score runs. Not you got a double so you're all happy."

"The big thing is to hustle wherever we go," Lewis said. "Hustle as hard as you can. You just have to be aware of what's going on around you, be aggressive."

Lewis said the team has enjoyed playing for Cooper, who was an All-America third baseman last season who hit .538 with 16 home runs and 43 RBI at Eastern Connecticut State University, being named Little East Conference Player of the Year.

"Amazing," Lewis said. "I look up to her. I saw her play a couple times at Eastern. It's amazing."

Following posing for the photo with the softballs, the Falcons then ran from foul pole to foul pole and back twice as punishment for forgetting the softballs on a road trip to Ledyard earlier in the week. They giggled through the run.

"You get mentally tired. There's some weeks you never take a break and I sit down and say, 'My gosh. I can't feel my legs,'" Taber said. "But I think (going into the ECC and state tournaments) makes us even more excited."

v.fulkerson@theday.com

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