BEACON FALLS — After a rough six innings of softball, Woodland’s senior captains helped lead the way to a comeback win against Naugatuck on Monday.
Brooke Leshin singled to load the bases and Nicole Fowler followed with a two-run single to jumpstart a three-run bottom of the seventh to tie the game. Leshin came around to score from third on a run-scoring groundout by Rachel Starkey to erase a 4-1 deficit and the Hawks eventually won 5-4 with a run in extra innings.
The Hawks improved to 7-2 and rebounded from their first Naugatuck Valley League loss last Friday against Torrington. Naugy dropped its third in a row to fall to 7-4 after beginning the NVL season 7-0.
“My senior captains (Leshin and Fowler) displayed for the rest of the team that it’s not OK to play the way we did for the first six innings,” Woodland head coach Loren Luddy said. “The game can’t end like that.”
It didn’t. In the eighth, Woodland’s Stephanie Kiley bunted for a single and advanced to second following an error that allowed Brianna Pacileo to reach base.
Freshman Cameron Caswell drove a fly ball to deep right that was caught. Kiley, Woodland’s fastest runner, bolted to third and made a turn for home.
“She’s been doing a good job of putting the ball in play when she’s not getting on base,” Luddy said of Caswell.
Naugy bobbled its relay attempt after the catch in right and never made a play at the plate as Kiley scored the winning run on a rare two-base sacrifice fly.
The late-inning victory spoiled a solid effort from Naugatuck pitcher Nina Kosciuszek, who scattered four hits, struck out three and allowed one unearned run over the first six innings. Kosciuszek pitched to contact and induced many ground-ball outs.
“She pitched very well and we struggled to make solid contact for most of the game,” Luddy said of Kosciuszek.
Naugy scored three in the third off Samantha Lee, the Woodland starter, who overcame her team’s shaky defense. Lee, a junior, struck out seven and recorded the big outs when she needed them.
“Sam pitched well,” Luddy said. “She stuck with it and always makes hitters earn it. She doesn’t walk people.”
Naugy’s three-run third gave the Greyhounds a lead they almost rode to victory. Gillian Fortier (three hits) singled to right and scored on a misplay in the outfield. Later in the inning, Sarah Chandler homered.
Naugy scored again in the inning when Erica Bohuski (three hits) singled and scored on a triple by Sydney Cotto. Fortier accounted for Naugy’s other run when she tripled and scored on the same play after a Woodland miscue in the field.
Despite some fielding issues, the Hawks found a way to win.
“I’m proud of the way my team played,” Luddy said. “After a rough six innings, to still step it up — they went out there and played like they could win. And they did.”
Woodland, the NVL Brass Division leader, shutout Holy Cross on Wednesday, 3-0.
Lee pitched a four-hitter and struck out seven for the visiting Hawks. Pacileo tripled, singled and scored a run, and Natalie Veneri added two hits, an RBI and a run scored for Woodland. Kiley chipped in an RBI single.
The Hawks will host Sacred Heart on Thursday and Kennedy and Wilby early next week.
Naugatuck bounced back from Monday’s loss with a 8-7 win over Watertown on Wednesday in Naugatuck.
Jenna Miller (4-1) scattered 10 hits and struck out two in seven innings to lead Naugatuck to the home win. Miller also had a single and an RBI. Chandler connected for a single, a triple, an RBI and a run scored, while Gillian Fortier added a single, double and two RBI for the Greyhounds. Kara Klimaszewski also chipped in with two singles.
The ‘Hounds will visit Ansonia on Friday and St. Paul on Monday before returning to Breen Field on May 1 to take on Derby.