Though the first half of the season has been a challenge for the Greenwich High School softball team, a positive attitude has been a trademark of the squad, which continues to focus on improving each game and every practice. Saturday, the Cardinals earned what they’ve worked so hard to get the past few weeks – a victory.
Pounding out 15 hits, while receiving strong pitching and stellar defensive play, Greenwich reached the win column, defeating visiting Weston, 12-5, in a non-conference matchup.
The win was the first of the season for the Cardinals (1-9), whose first nine games included matchups against formidable foes such as Fairfield Ludlowe, Staples and Norwalk. Coached by Mary Beth Fratello, Greenwich came close to beating New Fairfield (a 6-5 loss), Brien McMahon (2-0 defeat) and Stratford (10-7 loss) during the first week of the season, so when Weston came to town Saturday, the Cardinals were especially eager to earn their first victory.
“It feels really good, I feel like we’ve all been working super, super hard, so it’s a relieving feeling, because since we were working so hard, we were ready for the ‘W’ and we got one, so we’re very excited,” Greenwich senior center fielder/tri-captain Ciarra Castro said.
Castro helped power the Cardinals’ lineup from the cleanup spot in the batting order, going 3 for 3 with two runs scored and two RBIs. Junior shortstop Mia Gangi, also a tri-captain, paced the offense as well, going 3 for 4 at the plate with two runs scored.
“We did a really good job of hitting,” Gangi said. “We got a lot of runs, when the bases were loaded and we got the hits that we needed throughout the game.”
Sophomore right-hander Cameron Clark earned the win on the mound for the Cardinals and helped her own cause. Clark went 2 for 5 with a double and two runs scored in the winning effort.
“She did a good job today, she was hitting her spots moving the ball around and getting the outs,” Fratello said of Cameron Clark. “She was having them get ground balls, pop-ups – the defense did a good job today.”
Indeed, defensive play as been an emphasis of the Cards, who made most of the plays they needed to in the field against the Trojans in this non-conference matchup.
“We made some nice plays and we pulled it together when it mattered most,” said GHS junior tri-captain Megan Geiger, who plays first base. “When there were runners in scoring position, we cleaned it up, so I’m proud of all of us. We spend a lot of time working on our defense and reducing the errors and mistakes and this game was proof of that.”
Sophomore Casey Natale, who plays second base, was 2 for 4 with a double and two runs scored, sophomore Gianna Toscano, who plays third base, had one hit and a team-high three RBIs, junior catcher Campbell Clark added one hit and one RBI and sophomore outfielder Sophia Blois had a hit and drove in a run for Greenwich. Freshman Leila White, an outfielder had a hit and an RBI as well for the Cardinals, who scored four runs in the first inning, two runs in the second, one in the third, three in the fourth and two more in the fifth against Weston.
“It was good to get that first win,” Fratello said. “They’ve been working hard and to get that nice win after a rough couple of weeks was good to see. They made the plays they were supposed to make and we had some timely hitting.”
Weston, which took a 2-0 first-inning lead, received two hits and two RBIs from freshman center fielder Ashley McCain, who doubled and tripled and two hits and an RBI from junior shortstop Ellie Herford. After the Trojans took a 2-0 edge, the Cardinals seized the lead for good with their four-run first inning.
Gangi led off the first inning with a double against Weston freshman pitcher Lily Moskoff and scored when Natale reached base on an error. Castro singled home Natale, tying the score at 2-2.
Campbell Clark hit a run-scoring single and after Geiger was hit by a pitch, Toscano reached on an infield error, bringing home another GHS run in the opening inning. Gangi and Cameron Clark each singled during the home team’s two-run second inning.
In the bottom of the third inning, Geiger doubled and scored on a single by White, putting the Cardinals on top, 7-3.
“We go up with the same mentality against every pitcher – see the ball, hit the ball and get base hits,” Geiger said. “We are really excited to have some success and carry that into Monday, especially offensively.”
Weston closed to within 7-5 in the top of the fourth inning by scoring two runs. McCain keyed the inning with a triple. Greenwich, however, regained the momentum with a three-run fourth inning.
Castro and Campbell Clark each delivered singles, then Toscano stepped up to the plate. Toscano hit a Moskoff fastball to deep left center field for a triple, driving in two runs to extend the Cards’ advantage to 9-5.
Toscano scored when Blois hit a double, making it 10-5.
“We were doing really well at the plate,” Castro noted. “Cheering for each other and communicating – that helped us a lot.”
The victors added two more runs in the fifth inning, which was keyed by Castro’s RBI single. Meanwhile, Cameron Clark settled in on the mound nicely, exhibiting solid control of her pitches.
“Cameron did a really great job,” Castro said. “I’m proud of our pitchers for coming so far.”
Greenwich’s starting pitcher also benefited from some good plays that were made in the field.
“We have definitely improved our defense,” Gangi noted. “I feel like we’ve come a long way from the beginning of the season.”
The Cardinals host Fairfield Warde on Monday at 4:30 p.m., then travel to Trumbull on Wednesday, before New Canaan comes to town on Friday.
“We need to keep our heads up and know that if we keep the energy up and continue to work, we will do a good job,” Gangi said.
“We are all eager to win, so this is the wake-up and the start of it all, hopefully,” Castro said.
Categories: Greenwich High, Spring sports
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