BEACON FALLS — Despite a 2-5 start to the softball season, Woodland coach Loren Luddy is encouraged by confidence-building efforts over the last week.
The Hawks suffered a 2-0 loss against Watertown last Wednesday but rebounded for a 10-0 win over Ansonia last Thursday. Woodland faltered again last Friday with a 15-0 defeat against Wolcott.
The victory over the Chargers, which was the Hawks’ first since opening day, was a much-needed shot in the arm for Woodland after three straight losses. Emily Caruso paced the offensive effort with two hits, two runs and two RBI.
“It’s definitely a confidence builder, especially for some of the younger players who got some good at-bats,” Luddy said. “We’re still working in new players in new positions. Some of the younger players are figuring where they fit in best. Our seniors are setting a good example. Izzy (Golia) and Brianna (Vallejo) are great leaders on the field. We have quite a few freshmen playing, and it’s a fast pace. Watertown and Wolcott are aggressive teams.”
In addition to those seniors, Woodland has been led by senior Ivy Geloso and junior Steph Krebbs. Geloso pitched every game during a stretch in which the Hawks played six games in eight days. She held a strong Watertown team to just two runs in that game, and she struck out 13 in the win over Ansonia. Both players, as well as junior Liz Triana, have also paced the Hawks’ hitting attack.
“If they can continue and everyone else can continue to improve, I’m hoping we can get to those eight wins,” said Luddy, pointing toward the team’s goal of reaching the state tournament after missing out last spring. “We struggled a little bit with six games in eight days with our one pitcher and a young defense around her. We had some errors and she threw more pitches than we were hoping. She ran out of gas a little bit.”
Even the loss to Watertown, which won its first five games of the season, was a bright spot for the Hawks.
“The Watertown game was a good confidence booster, too,” Luddy said. “We held them to two runs and we played better defense than we had been playing. Watertown is always a good opponent, and we played them well.”
Woodland faced a tough test Wednesday versus Oxford and fell, 17-2. Krebbs had two hits for Woodland.
Luddy looks forward to continued improvement over the next few weeks and thinks that Woodland will be even more competitive in the second half of the year.
“I think with a team so young, I think we’re going to challenge teams the second time around,” Luddy said. “We just need more confidence at the plate and in the field. They have excellent attitude, excellent work ethic, and excellent sportsmanship, and those things will pay off. Hopefully we can rack up some wins soon.”
Woodland’s tough road continues when the Hawks host two-time defending state champion Seymour on Friday. Woodland will also host Torrington on Saturday, Crosby on Monday and Naugatuck on Wednesday.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated from the article that appears in the April 20 print edition of the Citizen’s News to include information on games played through April 18.