BEACON FALLS — The longer the stalemate lasted, the more a climactic finish was assured.
A two-out single by Nicole Fowler advanced freshman Brianna Pacileo to third before a throwing error allowed Pacileo to score with the winning run to help Woodland beat Watertown, 2-1, Monday on the Hawks’ senior night at the Beacon Falls Recreation Complex.
Pacileo knocked her third hit in as many at-bats with one out in the seventh and stood on first until Fowler blooped a single into shallow center field. Pacileo beat the throw to third, and a throw to retire Fowler at second was botched, allowing Pacileo to cross the plate.
“That was a very good, tough at-bat by a girl who really had not done well previously,” Woodland coach Loren Luddy said of Fowler’s effort. “She’s really struggled and was having trouble with her confidence, but she got up there and battled and she got the hit. [First-base coach Krystle Levinsky] sent her to second hoping they would throw, and they did, and we got the run in.”
The walk-off run broke a 1-1 tie that had been on the scoreboard since the top of the second inning when Sara Selimovski led off with a triple for Watertown (9-4) and scored on a sacrifice fly by Nikki Thomas.
The Hawks (13-3) took a short-lived lead in the bottom of the first when Emily Wirsing hit her first of two singles with two outs and scored on a triple by Angie Wirsing.
Angie Wirsing won the pitchers’ duel between herself and Meg Cordon. Wirsing allowed one earned run on seven hits while striking out one, outlasting Cordon, who allowed one earned on nine hits while fanning six.
Wirsing pitched her way out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the top of the third by inducing a 1-2-3 double play.
“Angie Wirsing really stepped up,” Luddy said. “She’s been working on her pitching and every time she’s getting better. She came to play today and her defense played strong behind her.”
The Woodland defense bailed out its pitcher in the fourth when Lindsay Boland gunned out a runner a third just before the lead runner had crossed the plate to preserve the tie.
In the fifth, Watertown threatened again by moving a runner to third with two outs, but Emily Wirsing ate up a ground ball at third to stop the rally.
The young squad, comprised of just three seniors, displayed its potential from the youngest on up, headlined by Pacileo’s 3-for-3 effort.
“She had a great game,” Luddy said of her starting shortstop. “She’s really coming along quickly as a freshman.”
Luddy said the all-around team effort was the best way to show the girls’ appreciation for Boland, Kara Hames and Rebecca Norton.
“There was just no way that this team was going to let their seniors down,” Luddy said. “They knew it was senior day and these are the best three sportsmanship players you can imagine, and the team wasn’t going to let them down. Kara and Lindsay have been catching fly balls and throwing out runners at home and Becca, behind the plate, has had two different pitchers who have never pitched varsity before this year and she’s helped them get better and better.”
Woodland will likely be a top-four seed in this month’s Naugatuck Valley League tournament when the Hawks try to defend their league crown. Luddy knows it’s going to take a tremendous effort to beat the league’s best, especially Seymour and Holy Cross.
“Our bats have been strong all year,” Luddy said. “We just have to keep adjusting to the pitchers. But our defense has to stay really strong. And we’re going to have to really hit.”