Hawks blank New London in ‘M’ opener

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BEACON FALLS – It was business as usual for the Naugatuck Valley League champion Tuesday in Woodland’s Class M first round matchup against No. 28-seeded New London. The Hawks pushed across five runs on five hits—more than enough insurance for Katie Alfiere, who spun a two-hitter to move Woodland to the second round with a 5-0 win.

The Hawks hung a two-spot in the first to take an early advantage and added three insurance runs in the third to allow Alfiere to breeze through the Whalers’ lineup. She struck out nine while allowing just two infield hits as she continued to gain back strength.

“I’m a lot better now than how I was in the NVL tournament,” Alfiere said. “I don’t personally think I showed it yesterday, but I’m like 89 percent.”

That 89 percent was plenty to keep the fifth-ranked Black and Gold moving through the Class M tournament. The Hawks were set to host No. 12 Suffield, a 7-1 winner in its first round game against Lyman Memorial, Wednesday.

Woodland took advantage of five New London errors to score all of its runs with just five hits. Tayler Boncal had the big smash of the day, belting a leadoff homer in the third. Kaiti Lembo notched a single, triple, and two RBI while Alfiere also drove in a run.

“I think as a team we did well offensively today,” center fielder Lindsay Boland said. “Everyone was hitting the ball whether they made errors or not.”

With four games to go and a still-less-than-100-percent pitcher, the Hawks maintained a cautiously optimistic attitude toward the remainder of the tournament.

“I think Katie has been doing a great job for only being a few weeks out of surgery,” Boland said. “Without having her at 100 percent, we need to be on our toes at all times. We’re just taking one game at a time because there are a lot of really good teams in the tournament. I think it’s really hard to predict the outcome because every team has a good chance of winning. We could lose any time.”