BRADFORD — With a pair of evenly matched teams, Ansonia needed extra innings to defeat Bradford on Monday in a Cross County Conference softball game.
Both teams’ coaches left Monday’s game pleased with their squad’s play but still seeing room for improvement. But it was Ansonia and coach Floyd Jenkins who came away with the victory.
“We’re pretty young, and I think for the most part they played well and they stepped up against a very good team,” Jenkins said.
While Ansonia walked away with the win, it was Bradford that took the early lead as the Lady Railroaders scored three runs in the bottom half of the first inning.
“We took advantage of some opportunities and executed some small ball and got some runs in,” Bradford coach Shon Schaffer said. “It was good then kind of cooled off.”
Bradford held Ansonia scoreless until the Lady Tigers plated three runs in the fourth inning to tie the game at 3-3.
“Bradford is a good team, got two nice pitchers there,” Jenkins said. “We forced them to action, and they made a couple mistakes where we took advantage of them just like they did to us. We made a couple mistakes early on, and they took advantage of that.”
With the game tied late in the contest, both teams had opportunities late to score the game-winning run, but neither was able to do so in the first seven innings of play.
Helping Ansonia keep Bradford in check was strong pitching from Catey Fischer and strong defense behind her, including from freshman Jailyn Thwaits at third base. In the fifth inning Thwaits made a diving play on a Bradford bunt, popping the ball in the air to Fischer who caught it and threw it to first base for a double play.
Ansonia also stranded a Bradford runner at second in the seventh inning and doubled off the Railroaders again in the eighth inning.
“Catey, she’s getting stronger and stronger,” Jenkins said. “I think our defense, we’ve got a young player down there at third base played outstanding today in Jailyn Thwaits. She made some nice, nice plays.”
After a leadoff single from Jayde Mead in the fifth inning, Bradford tried to be aggressive on the base paths in that instance but the solid defense of Ansonia caught the Railroaders off guard.
“We had a hit and run going on that one time so we were off the bag,” Schaffer said. “But that’s just the way it goes. You gamble a little bit.”
The winning run came in the top of the eighth inning as Allison Phillippi led off for Ansonia with a double. After she took third base on a passed ball, Fischer drove a sacrifice fly into the outfield to bring in the game-winning run as the Lady Tigers took the 4-3 victory.
“They started a little shaky, and they kept their composure and kept battling back,” Jenkins said of his team’s performance.
Fischer got the win for Ansonia, pitching a complete game and striking out four.
Offensively Phillippi had a pair of hits including a double and scored two runs, including the game winner. Fischer scored a run and drove in the game-winning run.
Holli Hammaker had a two-RBI single, and Thwaits and Haley Wampler both had singles.
For Bradford Tori Smith struck out eight batters in six innings on the mound, and Haley Patty struck out three in two innings.
Mindy Brewer was 2-for-3 with a RBI for Bradford. Brooke Brower was 2-for-4. Olivia Hart had a RBI while Smith and Mead both had a hit.
“We executed well, just came up short on the scoreboard,” Schaffer said.
Ansonia will play host to Twin Valley South Tuesday while Bradford travels to Newton Tuesday.