SOFTBALL: Hale & hearty! Wallingford completes perfect run to 10U state crown

WINDSOR — Crown your Wallingford 10U all-star softball team state champions!

The Wallingford Cardinals defeated the Madison Tigers 4-1 at Welch Field in Windsor on Saturday to win the state title. 

“I’m a proud of these kids,” said Wallingford head coach Carl Tetreault. “Two years ago we got together for our first practice. We couldn’t play catch and these kids have worked so hard.

“Our coaching staff has drive and pushed them, and they played an amazing team with an amazing pitcher. To come up here and win three games in the heat, it’s amazing,”

Wallingford 10U softball went 9-0 en route to the state title: 3-0 in District 5, 3-0 in Section 2 and 3-0 in the state final four, beating each of the three other qualifiers, Milford, Windsor and Madison.

As she has throughout the postseason, Caitlyn Hale earned the pitching victory on Saturday. She threw a complete game with 14 strikeouts and allowed just a couple of hits to out-duel Madison’s Campbell Leckey. 

Wallingford staked its ace to a quick lead in the top of the first. Chelsea Montano led things off with a walk, advanced to second on a wild pitch and to third on a bunt single by Josie Chaplin.

When the next batter, Anna Cappas, was up, another wild pitch allowed Montano to score for a 1-0 Wallingford lead.

“That pitcher, Leckey, is as good as anyone in the state,” said Tetreault. “We knew we had to jump out on her, get a lead early and try to put some pressure on them.”

Wallingford’s mojo would carry on to the defensive side. Hale retired the side in order in the bottom of the first, earning two strikeouts. 

Things got brighter for Madison in the second. Leckey allowed a hit in the top half, but chalked up three strikeouts. In the bottom half, the Tigers evened the score. 

With one out, Eden Anderson walked and advanced to second on a wild throw. Sadie McHugh followed with a RBI double that drove in Anderson to even things up at 1-1.

Leckey had deja vu in the third. She retired all three Wallingford batters and threw just 11 pitches in the inning. 

Hale, though, would also have a stellar third inning. She allowed a leadoff walk, then retired the next three batters on strikeouts, giving her eight on the game.

In the fourth, Wallingford took the lead for good with a two-out, two-run rally.

It started with a walk drawn by Briella Krystofolski. While Savannah Hastings was busy working a walk of her own, Krystolfolski advanced to third on a pair of wild pitches.

The next batter, Sam Allison, walked to load the bases. Then, with Hale at the plate, another wild pitch would allow Krystofolski and Hastings to score, giving Wallingford a 3-1 lead. 

Madison threatened in both the bottom of the fourth and the fifth. With two outs in the fourth, Eden Anderson doubled and stole third. Before Madison could bring in a run, Hale earned her ninth strikeout.

In the fifth, after two more strikeouts, Hale issued a pair of two-out walks. A wild pitch put them into scoring position at second and third with a wild pitch. With a 3-2 count, Hale struck out Audrey Sears to end the inning without giving up a run.

In the sixth and final inning, Wallingford applied the exclamation point. With two outs, Anna Cappas connected for an inside-the-park home run to extend Wallingford’s lead to 4-1 with just three outs until victory.

Hale and Wallingford would get those three outs quickly. Back-to-back-to-back strikeouts closed the game and the state crown was Wallingford’s.

“They probably have more of an impact on me than I have on them,” remarked Tetreault. “We all believed in our presence out there.

“We’re not building D-1 athletes,” the head coach added. “We’re trying to build them to be lawyers, doctors, teachers, moms, good-contributing adults, and we try to instill the building blocks of hard work, commitment and things like that now.”


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