BEACON FALLS — It’s always fun when neighboring rivals Woodland and Naugatuck meet, and Monday’s game proved more fun for the Hawks than the Greyhounds.
After struggling to score runs against Seymour, Woodland’s bats came alive at home in a 15-8 win over the Greyhounds.
Lindsay Boland had four hits including a home run, four runs scored and three RBI to pace the Hawks, who scored five runs in a game-changing fourth inning. Angie Wirsing also added three hits, three RBI and three runs scored.
Trailing, 6-4, Woodland’s offense exploded in the fourth inning as the Hawks batted around the order. Naugatuck pitcher Alexa Marucci walked Alyssa Skibo to begin the inning before Boland stepped up to the plate and drove the ball down the left-field line over Melissa Kirschbaum’s head. Boland made it all the way around the bases for a two-run homer that tied the game.
But, Woodland wasn’t done just yet.
Nicole Fowler and Angie Wirsing both singled before Emily Wirsing unloaded a triple of her own which scored Fowler and Angie Wirsing. Rebecca Norton also had a hot bat, sending a ball down the right-field line which brought two more runs across the plate before the Greyhounds recorded the final out of the inning.
“Hitting is almost contagious for our team,” Boland said of the Hawks’ lineup, which produced 18 hits. “We just needed a few people to get the bats going in which we did and then everybody started hitting the ball.”
Woodland coach Loren Luddy was confident in her team’s ability to rally from a deficit, something the Hawks have done several times this season en route to their 9-1 record at the midway point of the schedule.
“Naugatuck is a great offensive team,” Luddy said. “They have some girls that can really hit the ball. But being behind in a game isn’t unfamiliar to these girls. They’re confident when they get up to bat and have been able to come from behind in a lot of close games this season.”
Woodland added three more runs in the fifth to stretch its lead to 13-6 before Naugatuck started to battle back.
‘Hounds freshman Gillian Fortier sent one flying to deep center field in the top of the sixth for her second home run of the game which scored Melissa Labonte to make it 13-8. Fortier also smashed a two-run homer in the first after a bunt single by Labonte
That was as close as Naugatuck would get as Woodland turned up the defensive pressure and the Hawks’ offense kept coming as they scored again twice in the sixth to make it 15-8.
“Both teams have a good offensive lineup, but we were just able to get rallies going almost every inning,” said Angie Wirsing.
The first four innings were a back-and-forth affair as Woodland answered Fortier’s first homer in the bottom of the first by loading the bases with no outs. Angie Wirsing unloaded a triple to score three runs and pace Woodland to a 4-2 lead.
But Naugatuck scored three runs in the second to regain the lead and added one more run in the third to make the score 6-4 entering the fourth.
Naugatuck coach Kevin Wesche acknowledged some weakness in Monday’s defense when the ‘Hounds made two errors, but thought his team’s offense did its part.
“Unfortunately we had some defensive miscues that hurt us today,” Wesche said. “Our offense looked pretty good. We were able to put the ball in play a lot today and forced them to make some defensive stops.”
Naugatuck (4-4) will travel to Florida this week to take part in Disney’s High School Spring Training, where Wesche hopes his team will iron out some of its defensive miscues. Woodland will stay home where the Hawks were set face Holy Cross on Wednesday and Kennedy on Friday.