Bethel hands Hawks first loss

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Woodland's Rachel Starkey heads home to score on a solo home run during against Watertown April 5 at Watertown High School. The Hawks beat the Indians 15-4. Losses to Bethel on Saturday and Seymour on Monday dropped the Hawks to 2-2 on the season. –RA ARCHIVE

BEACON FALLS — Bethel’s Yesenia Evaristo was too much for Woodland — in the circle and at the plate.

Evaristo chucked a three-hitter, tripled twice, and scored two runs in leading Bethel to a 3-1 nonconference win over Woodland last Saturday in Beacon Falls.

“Their pitcher had a very good riseball and a very good curveball,” Woodland coach Loren Luddy said. “No matter where we were standing in the box, she had a good pitch. She was hitting the outside corner for strikes.”

Bethel scored one run in the first and two more in the third off Woodland sophomore Samantha Lee. Lee nearly worked out of trouble in the third after allowing two runners with no outs, but a two-out infield single kept the Bethel rally alive.

Lee settled down in the circle the rest of the way and contributed the Hawks’ only run of the day by leading off the bottom of the third with a triple and scoring on a throwing error to make it a 3-1 game.

Woodland couldn’t get any closer than that thanks to Evaristo’s pitching. She struck out the side in the fourth and mostly breezed through the rest of the game, even though Lee and the Hawks’ defense didn’t allow Bethel to score again.

“Sammy pitched great and the defense played well,” Luddy said. “That pitcher-leadoff hitter (Evaristo) is one of the best players in the state. In the (Naugatuck Valley League), except for Seymour sometimes, you don’t see a pitcher usually that can throw that riseball so well.”

The nonconference loss was the Hawks’ first of the season.

“You definitely get to see exactly what it is you need to work on,” Luddy said about the nonleague opportunity. “When you’re winning games by a lot of runs, it’s easy to overlook any flaws you might have. We threw out some of their fast runners on good bunts. We know exactly what we need to fix.”

Woodland evened its record at 2-2 with a 5-2 loss to Seymour on Monday. Natalie Veneri had two singles while Rachel Starkey tripled for the Hawks, but Woodland struck out 11 times in the game.

The Hawks were set to face Derby on Wednesday before hosting Ansonia on Friday. Woodland will visit Wolcott on Monday afternoon.