BRISTOL — The softball field has been a sanctuary for Southington softball coach Davina Hernandez when times have been tough.
After a difficult day for her family on Wednesday, her Blue Knights exploded for a 11-3 CCC crossover win at a cold and rain-soaked Bristol Central field.
“This was the first time I smiled all day,” Hernandez said after the victory. “This senior class was with me when this tragedy first started and they were here for me again today.”
Not only did Davina and her family have to endure the news of the high-profile death of her cousin Aaron Hernandez on Wednesday, they were also mourning the loss of another family member.
“I think this is the first game my dad has missed since I’ve been coaching because he was at a wake today for one of his cousins,” Hernandez said.
Hernandez was able to push all of that aside and coach her girls to a 4-0 start.
The Knights put this one away early with the dominant pitching of junior flamethrower Kara Zazzaro and her battery mate senior Marighread Scafariello.
Zazzaro popped the glove all game with 17 strikeouts. She fanned the first eight hitters she faced before Central’s Ali Holden (1-for-4, RBI) broke up the no-no with a clean single to lead off the fourth inning.
“Kara is consistently between 63 and 65 miles per hour and she mixes up her pitches,” Hernandez said. “She has gotten better every game.”
The weather deteriorated as the game went on and both pitchers were forced to throw a wet ball. Zazzaro walked two and plunked four batters.
Late in the game, Holden had an RBI groundout and Sarah Strilkauskas added an two-run double to account for BC’s scoring.
Zazzaro had plenty of runs to work with. In the second inning, Frankie Ferrante blasted a triple over the right-fielders’ head. Scafariello unloaded on the first pitch she saw and it went off the left-field fence. Scafariello’s legged-out round-tripper gave the Knights a 2-0 lead.
It was the start of a monster day for the catcher. Scafariello tripled in each of her next two at-bats and finished the day 3-for-4.
Southington struck for three runs in the third inning on RBI singles by Amanda Delorme and Ferrante and Scafariello’s towering RBI stand-up triple.
Sophomore Chrissy Marotto scored on a wild pitch as the Knights tacked on a run in the fourth.
Southington added five in the fifth to complete their scoring. Abby Lamson scored on an error, Scafariello delivered her second RBI triple of the contest. Katie Semmel chipped in with an RBI single and Kelly Graff came off the bench with a run-scoring single of her own. Tori Aldieri added an RBI ground out.
“Our big bats came alive today,” Hernandez said. “It’s been our slappers and our small-ball people that have been getting it done. I was really happy to see those big bats get it done today. They’ve had good at-bats but they haven’t seen the results yet this season.”
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