Michon, Montville clinch ECC Division III softball title
Montville — Some coaches buy their players gum, maybe even an ice cream cone in the case of a victory of particular consequence.
In the case of Montville High School softball coach Derek Wainwright, his players requested steak. And so it was early Wednesday evening that a party of 14, shepherded by Wainwright, was headed to the Texas Roadhouse.
The Indians, who clinched the Eastern Connecticut Conference Division III championship, beating Ledyard 4-0 behind a two-hitter from all-state pitcher Alexis Michon — Montville's first league title since 2003 — were certainly deserving.
"This is the biggest game Montville softball has played in years," Wainwright said. "Ever since the Ledyard game last time (3-1 loss, April 17), we've been saying, 'we're better than them.' I don't think there was any doubt our girls were going to be ready to play. If you build up games, they're ready to play.
"This is a fantastic group of girls," Wainwright said. "One of them said to me, 'Coach, how come you never get us steak?' Have you ever heard such a thing?"
Michon, architect of two no-hitters earlier this season, struck out eight and walked one intentionally, allowing just two baserunners and no hits until Sam Money and Aaliyah Amidon broke through with back-to-back hits to start the seventh inning for Ledyard.
Meanwhile, Montville was also scoreless for four innings against Ledyard's Sara Rivers, but the Indians manufactured a four-run rally in the fifth beginning with a seemingly innocuous hit batter, freshman pinch hitter Lily Corrice, to lead off the inning.
Christyna Winstead followed with a single, Jillian Murallo sacrificed the runners to second and third and Abby Diamantini hit a sacrifice fly to right to score pinch runner Eva Peltier. Ledyard intentionally walked Michon, the No. 3 hitter, and Rori Curran made the Colonels pay with an RBI single to right.
Katelin Price, who has now won ECC titles in soccer, indoor track and softball this season, added a two-run single, also to right. Maggie Wainwright, Derek's daughter, fouled off several pitches before flying out for the third out of the decisive inning, with eight Montville players having batted.
Montville is 15-2 overall and completed ECC divisional play with a 7-1 record.
"When a team makes a mistake, it's going to cost them," Michon said of the four-run inning. "The pitcher hit one of our girls and it led to a lot of runs. ... Last game (against Ledyard), the whole team didn't come together right. Today we came out excited, extra pumped because it was Senior Day. Our bats came alive today.
"We haven't won a divisional championship since 2003. It's a big accomplishment."
Wainwright called Michon, a junior, "the most impressive kid I've ever coached."
"She's as tough as any boy or girl athlete I've ever coached," Wainwright said.
Ledyard, meanwhile, fell to 13-5 overall, 5-2 in the division. Coach Brittany Robinson, who starts three freshmen, isn't at all displeased with the season the Colonels have had, in spite of Wednesday's loss.
"They're so smart, too," Robinson said of her players. "They're athletes that love the game. They know the game. They were stealing our signs today, calling out my signs, so I told our catcher (Paige Perkins), 'You call it.' My freshman catcher. She said, 'Yup, I got it.' She didn't even bat an eye. They know what's up.
"They earned it," Robinson added of Montville. "They hit better than we did. We have a good pitcher, too, but it was their day."