BEACON FALLS — The Woodland softball team had a tough road heading into the final week of the season. The Hawks needed two more wins to qualify for the state tournament with games against NVL title contenders Torrington and Holy Cross.
The Hawks fell to Torrington, 13-0, on Monday and to Holy Cross, 8-0, on Tuesday to finish the season 6-14.
“It’s the first time we haven’t made the states,” Woodland head coach Loren Luddy said. “But I’m so proud of these seniors. They stuck together and didn’t give up. We played some close games against some tough teams, considering the fact that we only had three players who had experience at the varsity level and played travel ball over the summer.”
The Hawks’ last win of the season came last Thursday in a 16-6 victory over Derby. Senior pitcher Jen Triana struck out eight batters in the pitcher’s circle to lead the Hawks.
Triana also had two singles and a double to spark the offense. Seniors Lindsey Gabianelli (4 hits, 4 RBI, 2 runs scored), Emily Brouillette (2 hits, 2 runs, 1 RBI), Rita Plante (double, 2 RBI) and Merrie Dyckman (1 hit, 1 RBI) led the Hawks at the plate.
Junior Ivy Geloso added a single and a triple with two runs scored and an RBI. Sophomore Steph Krebbs had three hits, three runs and one RBI.
“It feels kind of weird putting on the uniform for the last time,” said Triana, a three-sport athlete in volleyball, basketball and softball. “A strange feeling knowing that tomorrow there will be no practice or games after playing three sports. It certainly has taught me how to manage my time.”
“We started off struggling defensively,” Brouillette added. “But we got better as the season went on and had some good games offensively. But, as seniors, we realized we needed to put the pedal to the medal and started to make the plays.”
It was a strange kind of season for Woodland as the Hawks got out to a fast start with lopsided wins over Ansonia, 21-2, and Sacred Heart, 16-3. Those wins were followed by a 29-0 loss to Jonathan Barlow of Redding.
In the Hawks’ six wins, they outscored the opposition 117-15 and scored 16 runs three times. They also put up 24 runs on Crosby and Wilby.
There were seven games the Hawks were out of early, but for the most part the team battled and stayed the course. It came down to the final two games of the season, which were against two of the top teams in the league.
“We lost a lot of good senior players from last year and it took a while to come together as a lot of us never played varsity before,” Plante said.
“We had three sophomores playing varsity for the first time,” Dyckman added. “Everyone stepped up and took the initiative to get better.”
The Hawks will lose a handful of seniors to graduation.
Gabianelli was second on the team in hits (25) and average (.510) and had 16 RBI and 14 runs.
“Over the past four years I learned how to be a slap hitter, and in my senior year I had a real good on base percentage,” Gabianelli said. “It shows how much we improved this season as a team.”
Brouillette batted .468 and scored 12 runs with Triana knocking in 14 runs with a .375 batting average. Plante batted .333 with 15 RBI and Dyckman hit .315 with 12 runs scored.
Woodland will come back next season with Geloso leading the team at .517, 20 RBI and 25 runs and three home runs. Junior Brianna Vallejo provided productive at bats this season with 12 RBI as well as Krebbs at shortstop, who batted .400 with 14 RBI and 17 runs.