MERIDEN — Platt softball faced an uphill battle in its attempt to capture its third win of the week on Friday afternoon.
The combination of wind, a 10-minute rain delay in the bottom of the third and a more experienced Bristol Central team made for a tough CCC matchup on the West Side.
Even still, the Panthers kept it close. It took a sixth-inning jolt from the Rams to stretch a one-run game to six as the Panthers were shut out in their fourth and final game of the week, 6-0.
Platt came away at 4-4. BC improved to 5-2.
Two sensational sophomores duked it out in the circle. Alexandra Sciarretto for Bristol Central blanked the Panthers with a three-hitter.
Emily Hart took command in the circle for the Panthers and pitched a gem. She tallied 12 strikeouts in the game while surrendering eight hits, one walk and one earned run.
“This was her fourth game in one week throwing, so her arm is tired and you wouldn’t have seen it out on the mound.” Platt coach Jenn Duell said. “She did a good job, kept them off balance and kept fighting.”
Hart worked her way seamlessly through the first five innings. The right hander sat down nine batters and gave up just three hits and one run that came after a double and RBI triple in the fourth.
The top half of the sixth started with a single that glanced off of Hart’s glove and sputtered up the middle. After striking out her 10th batter of the game, Hart and the Panthers struggled to get the next two outs.
A fairly routine play resulted in two errors that allowed the Rams’ leadoff hitter to come across the plate and the batter to end up on third base.
Hart surrendered her only walk of the game to the next hitter, setting up runners on the corners. The next batter laid down a bunt and a throwing error allowed the runner from third to score and put Rams on second and third.
“The top of the order did very well today, executed very well.” Bristol Central coach Monica Hayes said.
Two batters later, Bristol Central tallied a run-scoring triple and RBI single in consecutive at bats.
Hart struck out the last batter of the inning, but the damage had been done. BC led 6-0.
“In the sixth inning, our age showed,” Duell said. “We kind of got in our own heads; we let them get in our heads. They got some key hits and did a good job picking up on our mistakes and capitalizing. So it definitely was our age a little bit there and not keeping our cool when things started to unravel.”
Bristol Central doubled its total in the hits department while hanging five runs on the Panthers squad in the sixth.
“I knew they were a good hitting team; I knew they were going to hit the ball, so I was just trying to stay calm as a pitcher,” Hart said. “When we got back in the dugout, I got my team up and tried getting them rallied.”
The Panthers couldn’t get the offense going. Sciarretto was virtually impossible to figure out. She struck out nine batters and anyone who put the ball in play was quickly turned away by the defense behind her.
Ariana Soto had two hits and a stolen base for the Panthers. Thalia Ortiz had the other hit for Platt.
“I thought [Alex] pitched really well.” Hayes said. “I think she attacked a bunch of hitters, hit her spots and we made some plays defensively.”
Just two players in the Platt program have varsity experience, so Duell will use this game as a teaching experience for her players.
“We have been down by 10 runs before and you wouldn’t have known it when you showed up at our field because we were loud, we were in the game and we fought back,” Duell said. “The lesson from this is that you’ve got to keep your head and heart in every single play.
“This is a game of failure. You fail seven out of 10 times, you had a really good day. So (we need to) find a way to manage that and not let it get in your own head and stay as a team and pick each other up.”