NFA holds off Montville and will play Griswold for ECC softball title

East Lyme — Bailey Comeau was four outs away from a no-hitter, en route to punctuating this long day's journey with an exclamation point.

This was in the sixth inning of an Eastern Connecticut Conference tournament semifinal Thursday night at Veterans Field, Comeau and Norwich Free Academy, playing their second game of the day, about to send Montville home.

"God gives, God takes," NFA coach Bryan Burdick was saying later. "I think we needed a little adversity there."

Comeau, going from no-no to "oh, no" quickly, suddenly found herself yielding three runs in the sixth. But she recovered in time to lead second-seeded NFA to a 5-3 win over the No. 3 Indians and a spot in Friday's ECC title game against top-seeded Griswold.

"She was spot on for a long time," Burdick said. "She has that ability to dominate a game. But I think we got into a little funk late in the game as a team. We need to keep our energy up."

Freshman Jillian Murallo ended the no-hitter with an RBI single off Comeau's glove with two outs in the sixth. Alexis Michon followed with an RBI double to the fence in right center, after which Michon scored on an error. Suddenly, it was 5-3.

Comeau, however, ended the inning with a ground ball back to the mound.

Not a bad rally for the Indians (17-6), who defeated East Lyme 7-0 earlier in the day to reach the semifinals.

"We were talking between games about how many two-out rallies we've had this season," Montville coach Derek Wainwright said. "It's an impressive group of kids. It didn't work out, but scoring three runs in that spot with two outs ... they just keep fighting."

NFA (18-4) took a 2-0 lead in the first on Comeau's two-out, two-run triple to center. The Wildcats made it 4-0 an inning later when Shea Gendron hit a two-run double. They added an insurance run in the fifth when the Indians made errors on two straight plays. Montville made three errors in the game.

Gendron had three hits for NFA.

Montville, meanwhile, awaits the state tournament after successful runs in the regular season and conference tournament.

"We've been building this up since playing in the rain the other day," Wainwright said. "When we got to today, we said we'd have a chance to play teams from here on in that we're 3-0 against this year. They expected to go to the finals. But we had a few breakdowns early."

• Griswold advanced with wins over No. 8 Fitch (9-4) in the quarterfinals and No.5 Waterford (4-0) in the semis. Earlier Thursday, the Lancers routed No. 13 Ledyard 9-1.

Griswold's Maya Waldron pitched a four-hitter with 10 strikeouts against Waterford, which got a six-hitter by Rachel Miller but made four errors. Miller and Ashley Goldstein combined on a one-hitter against Ledyard. Madison Nott and Miller had three hits each, Ciana Chiappone doubled and tripled and Gina McKittrick tripled and drove in three runs for the Lancers (13-10).

m.dimauro@theday.com

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