Hawks capture their second straight state softball title

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BY KEVIN ROBERTS
REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN
STORRS — Woodland High softball seniors Peyten Filippone and Sam Sosnovich had only one place they wanted their careers with the Hawks to end, and that was in the Class M state final on June 10 at UConn.
Top-seeded Woodland was on a mission to repeat as state champion, and No. 18 Sacred Heart Academy-Hamden — or anything else, for that matter — was not going to step the Hawks. They scored multiple runs in the second, third, fourth and fifth innings to blow away the Sharks, 16-0, at Burrill Family Field. Woodland ended its season at 25-1 while SHA finished at 17-9.
“It feels great. There’s no crying because we won. There’s nothing to cry about,” Filippone said after collecting two triples and three RBIs. “Senior year, you want to win, go as far as you can. That’s what we did.”
Both the Sharks and Hawks went in order in the first inning, but the top seed wouldn’t be held scoreless in an inning again until the sixth.
“There were definitely some nerves. You’re playing at UConn. The field is gorgeous. There’s a ton of people here,” Sosnovich said. “It’s the state championship game, and you’re playing a team you’ve never seen before. Of course, you’re going to be nervous, but once we all settled down, we were fine.”
Woodland scored two runs in the second, then erupted for five in the third to claim a commanding 7-0 advantage. The Hawks added three runs in the fourth, then added six for good measure in the fifth.
“After the second inning, once we got a hit, we just kept going,” Filippone said. “No one sat. We were all up. We kept rolling off each other.”
Ella Van Alstyne doubled twice, singled, scored three runs and drove in another. She also picked up her 100th career hit, and she’s just a sophomore.
“It shows how hard she works. She hits every day,” coach Loren Luddy said. “She works all year, hard, hard, hard all the time.”
Julia Rowley doubled, singled twice, scored three runs and drove in another. Sosnovich doubled, singled, scored a run and drove in another to help her cause in the circle. Breanna Thurston, Emma DeGeorge and Paige Chiaramonte each had a hit, two runs scored and an RBI. Lucia Rubano had a single and an RBI while Kate Lisowski tripled and scored a run.
The early run support was more than enough for Sosnovich, who threw her second straight state championship game shutout. She gave up just three hits, struck out 10, walked two and hit a batter.
“That’s what I worked so hard for all winter,” Sosnovich said of the back-to-back championship wins, which both ended on strikeouts. “BIg shout-out to my pitching coach, Kim Gallo, though, because she’s awesome.”
Woodland had the pressure to repeat, and all it did was do so with just a single blemish on its record, an NVL championship loss to Class M semifinalist Oxford.
“It’s amazing. We lost so many upperclassmen, I had no idea what to expect, but they made those younger players better,” Luddy said. “They set the bar high, and they reached it.”