The softball team has scored 15 runs two games in a row, but only won one of them.
Yesterday, the 16th-ranked T-Birds pelted No. 17 seed Nonnewaug 15-0 in the first round of the Class M State Tournament at . The game ended after the T-Birds scored their 15th run in the bottom of the fifth inning to end the game due to the mercy rule, which automatically ends a game after a team takes a 15-run lead.
“We stayed on top and made sure they didn’t match us,” said T-Birds' Coach TJ Schatz.
The game was a far cry from Saturday’s 16-15 loss to Hale-Ray in eight innings in the semifinals of the Shoreline Conference tournament, which was “the most bizarre game I’ve ever been a part of in 20 years of coaching,” Schatz said.
North Branford led 9-0 after one inning and had an 11-0 lead before Hale-Ray began its comeback.
“They chipped away and we changed pitchers with five outs to go and we still had a five-run lead," said Schatz. "They tied it at 13, but we scored two runs and they tied it again in the seventh and won it in the eighth on a run scored on a force play at the plate. It should have been an out and we would have gone to the ninth, but that’s the way it goes."
Meagan Halligan, the T-Birds' star pitcher, had thrown a 2-0 shut out against Morgan in the quarterfinals Saturday morning before tiring in the loss to Hale-Ray. She threw another shutout in the big win over Nonnewaug to raise her record to 15-5. The team’s record is 16-7.
“After the loss against Hale-Ray, we wanted this win really bad to advance in the states so we came out strong,” said Halligan, who struck out seven and allowed only one hit–a fifth-inning single–and struck out the side in the fifth inning.
The secret to Halligan's success is her ability to throw a range of pitches.
"I use all my pitches and mix it up, especially the second and third time through the order when they start getting used to my pitches," she said. "I throw the fast, change, drop, curve and screw."
The T-Birds' hitting stars in the win over Nonnewaug were third baseman Sam Monaco who went 4-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored and shortstop Maggie Sullivan who had two hits including a double and three runs scored.
The T-Birds don’t have a lot of time to enjoy their 15-0 win because they are in action again today in the second round of the states, against top ranked Seymour. The Wildcats are 19-1 with a 7-6 loss to Oxford the only blemish on their schedule. The game will be played at Seymour at 4 p.m.