NAUGATUCK — The Greyhounds ripped Masuk in the opening round of the Class L state tournament, piling up a six-run fourth inning before holding on to a 7-5 victory over the 22nd seed, 9-11 Panthers.
The 11th seed, 15-8 Greyhounds ran into a tough, 17-4 Bristol Eastern team in the second round, as Alyssa Boutin threw a two-hitter with ten strikeouts, propelling the Lancers to a 6-1 victory.
Julia Longo hit an RBI single to drive in Andrea Roman for the only Naugatuck run, and Alexis Granahan had the only other hit for the Greyhounds.
In the opener of the state tournament, Roman cracked a leadoff double in the third for the Greyhounds’ first hit of the game. Alexa Marucci was holding Masuk in check allowing just three hits through four innings.
Naugatuck needed to make something happen, and Alexis Granahan provided the spark as she reached on an error to open the bottom of the fourth. Skye Stella ripped a double into the left field corner and the Greyhounds were poised to break open the scoreless game.
Lianne Wallace bunted back to the pitcher and Granahan charged down the line toward home and somehow avoided the tag at the plate to put Naugatuck on top. Danielle Stoehrer got the sacks full after beating out a bunt up the first-base side.
Melissa Labonte chased home a run, reaching on an error, and the bases were loaded again when Roman worked out a walk. A pair of wild pitches plated two more runs before Andrea Granahan reached on the third Masuk error of the inning.
Melissa Kirschbam hit behind the runners and moved them into scoring position, allowing Julie Longo to plate the final run of the uprising on a sacrifice bunt for a 6-0 Naugatuck lead.
“We were able to execute in that inning,” said Naugatuck head coach Kevin Wesche. “We got our bunts down, we had heads-up base running and a few timely hits to go along with it.
“I thought our defense made the plays they had to as we kept Masuk from scoring early on. To get the lead, especially in a tournament game, was a huge factor in the outcome.”
Masuk came right back to make a game of it, plating three runs in the top of the fifth. Nicole Brice belted a run-scoring triple and Ashley Fedor unloaded an RBI double to account for the Panthers’ damage.
With runners at second and third, Andrea Granahan speared a line shot down the line to end the rally as Naugatuck came to bat looking for more. Wallace reached on a hit and came around to score when Stoehrer tore the cover off a pitch, sending a double down the line in right.
The insurance run came in handy as Masuk scored twice in the sixth. Christine Leo pounded a two-run single to make it a 7-5 game before third baseman Granahan again came up with the final out to end the rally.
The Panthers made it interesting in their final at-bat as they loaded the bases with one out. Shortstop Alexis Granahan knocked down a ball in the hole and came up firing to the plate to nail the lead runner. Julie Longo fielded a ball to second and threw over to Stoehrer at first to send Naugatuck to the second round of the Class L state tournament.
The Greyhounds will miss the senior leadership of this year’s squad, which comprised Julie Longo, Skye Stella, Alexis Granahan, Andrea Granahan and Liz Hufnagel.