WEST HAVEN — The blue expanse of the Long Island Sound is visible from the crest of the Kelsey Street hill, walking distance from the West Haven High School athletic complex.
Many a youngster over many a year, their bellies full of a famous Jimmie’s split frankfurter or three, have dreamed of high-seas adventure, pirates and buried treasure. Indeed, tales of visits from Captain William Kidd and undiscovered loot in the nearby Thimble Islands abound.
The solemn beauty combined with the depth of the unknown, enhanced by folk tales passed forward through family, books and motion pictures can stimulate such traditional flights of fancy.
Such flights were comparable to those dominating the thoughts of the softball players from Southington and Amity as they descended on the city known for its connection to the sea and its stirring past as an almost Disney-like land of fantasy replete with a carnival atmosphere that only their grandparents can recall with first-hand delight.
For Southington and Amity have softball traditions that run deep. Since the first CIAC softball tournament was held in 1974, either the Blue Knights or the Spartans have won 22 times. One, the other or both have been in the championship game all but 16 years as the tournament celebrated its 41st reenactment.
The teams have clashed seven times, the last coming June 8, 2012 when Amity’s bats beat out a 10-6 drubbing of the Knights in a mistake-filled contest at DeLuca Field in Stratford.
New Southington coach Davina Hernandez has an active role as a participant in the annals. She was a member of the Bristol Central team that lost to Amity in 2004.
Six of the present Southington contingent — Kaitlin Paterson, Sydney Ferrante, Kendra Friedt, Lauren Zazzaro, Rachel Dube and Emily Lippincott — were on the roster in 2012. Paterson (1B), Ferrante (SS) and Zazzaro (CF) were starters.
“They were not happy about that game,” Hernandez said. “I heard about it. They said it was an embarrassment. They also knew it was also rivalry game for me. The last high school game I played was a loss to Amity.”
As a freshman, Friedt pitched two innings in relief of Jordyn Moquin, yielded five runs and Moquin had to return to finish what former coach John Bores said was a game in which “we couldn’t have played worse.”
“That was a beatdown, and I knew this year we had to come out hard because they’re a great team and they were going to put up a really good fight,” Friedt said. “It’s really nice to see another outcome.”
But payback would prove challenging. The view from Kelsey Street had faded to black hours ago. The innings peeled away. NO RUNS in 14 full innings.
Hits were at a premium. Runners in scoring position were a novelty. Amity pitcher Katie Koshes and Southington’s Friedt swapped zeroes and piled up strikeouts.
Finally, Rachel Dube established some history all her own.