ECC softball: Stonington rallies twice and beats East Lyme in eight
Stonington — Maddie Mendez singled home two runs in the bottom of the eighth as fourth-seeded Stonington rallied for a 9-6 victory over No. 4 East Lyme in the first round of the Eastern Connecticut Conference Division I softball tournament on Tuesday.
The Bears (11-10) will play top-seeded Norwich Free Academy in Wednesday's semifinals at 4 p.m. at Griswold. NFA had a first-round bye.
It was the second comeback of the day for Stonington, which overcame deficits of 6-0 and 7-4 to force extra innings.
East Lyme (10-11) scored a run in the top of the seventh to take a 7-4 lead, but Miranda Arruda's solo home run (her second HR of the game), cut the deficit to 7-5, and a pair of two-out RBI infield singles by Colette Dreher and Maddy Stepski (Tori LoPresto scored) tied the game.
In the eighth, Caitlyn Sievers hit a leadoff homer to put the Vikings back on top, 8-7, but the Bears had one final comeback. Shea O'Connor was hit by a pitch to start the inning, moved to second on a passed ball and to third on a base hit by Arruda. After Arruda stole second, Mendes delivered the game-winner with a base hit to center.
"It was exciting," Stonington coach Ann-Marie Houle said. "It's the first time playing in the post-season for a lot of these kids because we're such a young team, so I'm so proud of them. They never give up. They don't get discouraged. They just keep playing."
Arruda, who hit a three-run homer in the fifth, finished 3-for-5 with four RBI and three runs scored while Mendez was 3-for-4 with a run and two RBI. Sievers finished 2-for-5 with two runs and an RBI while Isabel Siciliano was 2-for-5 and drove in three runs.
In the other Division I first-round game, defending champion Griswold overcame an early 2-0 deficit to edge No. 6 Fitch 5-4. The No. 3 Wolverines will play No. 2 Waterford, which received a first-round bye in Wednesday's second semifinal at 7:30 p.m. Fitch ends its season 7-14.
• Sarah Rivers pitched a four-hitter as fourth-seeded Ledyard cruised to a 15-0, six-inning victory over No.5 New London in the first round. Rivers struck out seven for the Colonels (15-6), who will play top-seeded Montville in Wednesday's semifinals at 6:30 p.m. at Veterans Field in Niantic. Montville had a first-round bye.
Shailynn Williams went 2-for-3 and drove in six runs for Ledyard while Aaliyah Amidon was 2-for-4 with a double, two runs and one RBI, and Paige Perkins was 1-for-3 with two RBI. New London is 11-10.
• In Tuesday's other first-round game, No. 3 Plainfield defeated No. 6 Windham 9-1. The Panthers will face No. 2 Tourtellotte, which had a bye in Wednesday's first semifinal at 4 p.m.
No. 3 Griswold 5, No. 6 Fitch 4
No. 4 Stonington 9, No. 5 East Lyme 8
No. 1 NFA vs. No. 4 Stonington, 4 p.m.
No. 2 Waterford vs. No. 3 Griswold, 6:30 p.m.
Semifinal winners, 7 p.m.
No. 3 Plainfield 9, No. 6 Windham 1
No. 4 Ledyard 15, No. 6 New London 0 (6)
At Veterans Field, Niantic
No. 2 Tourtellotte vs. No. 3 Plainfield, 4 p.m.
No. 1 Montville vs. No. 4 Ledyard, 6:30 p.m.
Semifinal winners, 4 p.m.
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