SEYMOUR — Last Thursday’s Naugatuck-Seymour softball game turned out to be just the latest classic in a long line of seat-grabbers. The Wildcats have enjoyed their share of one-run victories over the Greyhounds, winning seven straight regular-season games over the past four years, including three 1-0 nail-biters, highlighted by last season’s 16-inning marathon victory.
Naugatuck, meanwhile, beat Seymour to win the 2008 Naugatuck Valley League tournament title.
The intense rivalry continued last week in Seymour, as the Wildcats celebrated senior night with a 4-3 victory in nine innings.
The Greyhounds ended the week with a tough, 3-1 loss to Ansonia Saturday, the first back-to-back losses by Naugatuck (13-5) all season. Alexa Marucci tossed a five-hitter at Ansonia, but the Chargers exploited two Naugatuck errors by plating three runs in the second inning.
Marucci drove in Alexis Granahan with the Greyhounds’ only run in the fifth, and Julia Longo had a double and a single at the plate for the Hounds.
Naugatuck and Seymour both staged first-inning threats on Thursday, but the game remained scoreless entering the second inning. Stephanie Burt scattered five hits for the Wildcats and struck out 13 batters to earn the complete-game victory.
“We had our chances, but we just couldn’t get the bunt down when we had to,” Naugatuck head coach Kevin Wesche said. “Alexa did a great job for us, and we played well defensively, but we couldn’t capitalize on the offensive opportunities that we had.
“Hats off to Seymour; they executed the bunt and moved the runners into scoring position in the ninth. That was the key to the game.”
Burt struck out the side in the Naugatuck second but not before Lianne Wallace sent a drive over the fence in right for a home run that put the Greyhounds on top, 1-0.
Seymour wasted no time getting it back, as Emily Coyne drew a leadoff walk in the bottom of the frame. Brianna Donnarummo sliced a run-scoring single down the line in right, with two outs, tying the game at 1-1.
The Wildcats plated two more in the third, and that appeared to be enough, based on the rivalry’s recent history. Amanda Willette reached on an infield single, and Kim Ferris added a bunt single to put the Cats in business.
A sacrifice fly from Carissa Wasikowski and an RBI single by Kelly Mitchell staked Seymour to a 3-1 advantage. Marucci got out of a bases-loaded jam by inducing a groundout to Andrea Granahan at third, and the throw to Skye Stella cut off another run at the plate.
Naugatuck had an opportunity to get back in the game, with runners at second and third and two outs in the fourth. Melissa Kirschbaum unloaded blast up the middle that Burt was able to reach down and snare to thwart the threat.
The Greyhounds finally put it together in the fifth. Marucci drew a walk, and Stephanie Chandler laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to move the runner into scoring position. Melissa Labonte reached on a bunt single before Longo unleashed a two-run double to the fence in center that tied the game at 3-3.
Seymour was looking to close it out in the sixth but couldn’t get anything going, as Daniella Stoehrer crashed into the fence to haul in a foul pop, one of the dozen sensational plays she made covering first base.
The game went into extra innings, and the Wildcats finally got the break they needed when Willette reached on a bunt single to lead off the ninth. A passed ball sent her to second, and Kim Ferris put down a bunt to send the go-ahead run to third.
Wasikowski drilled a hit over the second-base bag to give Seymour the 4-3, walk-off win over Naugatuck.