Bears take down Warde, rally for extra-inning victory

Without the benefit of a senior on either team, it was easy to anticipate a wild game when the Fairfield Warde and Norwalk High softball teams got together in Fairfield on a breezy and cold Monday afternoon.

Few probably would’ve predicted the outcome, however.

Down three runs heading into their final at-bats, the Bears rallied for three runs in the top of the seventh inning for a 7-all tie before winning the game one frame later, 8-7, over the Mustangs.

In what is quickly turning into a crazy season for Mustang coach Gary Quiricone, Warde has now given up 37 runs in six games while scoring 66.

“Today we swung the bats as well as they did,” Quiricone said. “Unfortunately, almost everything that we hit was right at somebody. They were able to find the gaps.”

The loss dropped the Mustangs’ overall record to 3-3. Two seasons ago, Warde made it to the Class LL semifinals.

The Bears, now 2-3, used a base hit by Kasey Hogan to plate Mallory Rochefort with what proved to be the winning run in the eighth, then freshmen pitcher Mariah Ventrella retired all three of the batters that she faced in her half of the inning.

Norwalk’s Shannon O’Malley drove in two of her team’s three runs in the seventh with a triple to deep right field.

After falling behind 3-0 in the first inning, Warde charged right back.

The Mustangs used a lead-off single by Michele  Treglia, an error and two ground-ball outs to produce a run, making it 3-1.

Then in the second inning, Emily Seraphin’s single scored one run and  Treglia’s sacrifice fly to right sent home another as the locals tied it at 3.

Warde went ahead 4-3 in the fourth, as the Mustangs sent nine batters to the plate and ended up stranding three runners. Norwalk tied it for the second time, at 4-4, in its half of the fifth, but in the bottom of the sixth, the Mustangs strung together another big inning with Richelle Barone’s single being the key hit.

Her single off a 2-2 count drove in two runs and made it a 7-4 game at the time.

“We’ve been knocking on the door several times this year,” said Norwalk coach Elaine Gratix. “We just haven’t had the big play or the big hit up until today. I have what you’d call a scrappy team. They never give up and they never hang their heads.”

This definitely wasn’t a game dominated by pitchers. The Bears rapped out 14 hits, led by lead-off hitter and sophomore pitcher Ally Brown, with four. Rochefort and Hogan each contributed three. Hogan and O’Malley drove in two runs apiece.

The Mustangs, who had only six hits, also took advantage of the same numbers of walks and a hit-batsmen to get their runs. Seraphin was the sole Warde player with more than one safety.

“Overall, I was pleased with our play today,” Quiricone said.

“Once our defense settled down after that first inning, we got ourselves back in this game.”

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