For the first time in North Branford Little League history, a softball team has earned the state title. After beating Orange for the , then topping Seymour to win , North Branford's 10U All-Star softball team went on to sweep Granby to be named state champions this weekend.
"We absolutely did not expect to advance this far," said Coach Russ Senerchia. "We knew we had some experienced players that anchor the team, but had no idea they all would come together so quickly and gel."
North Branford faced Granby in a best-of-three series with the state title on the line. On July 23, North Branford squeaked by its opponent with a 2-1 victory.
"Game one proved to be a pitchers' duel," said Senerchia.
Senerchia's pitcher, Madison Blakeslee, kept most of the Granby All-Stars off the base paths with nine strikeouts. When Granby was able to put the ball in play, the North Branford defense held strong, giving up only one run.
For Granby, Kari Marks was equally as tough but gave up a walk to Alexa Gallo in the second. It proved costly as Gallo then stole second and third, forcing an overthrow, which turned it into North Branford's first run.
In the fifth, Britney Godfrey earned her way on with a bunt before stealing second and third. With two outs, Godfrey pulled off a delayed steal of home to score the winning run.
On July 24, North Branford knew that a win in game two against Granby meant the U10 All-Stars would take home the title. Though Granby took advantage of two first-inning walks by scoring two runs, that was all North Branford allowed. Offensively, North Branford exploded for 15 runs for a 15-2 win and NBLL's first-ever state title.
Sydney Senerchia settled down after the first inning for North Branford as she recorded 10 strikeouts as she and her defense kept Granby off the base paths.
At the plate, Gallo had a bases-clearing double and Marisa Feraiolo had a bases-clearing triple. Julia Dewitt, and Olivia Affinito all added to the run total with RBI. Blakeslee went 4-for-4 and scored twice.
Senerchia attributes his team's success to "the girls' attitudes. The older girls did what we expected, the younger girls caught on and fit in nicely. They never panicked when behind in a game and they played well with leads."
With the win, North Branford moves on to the Northeast Regional Tournament, which starts on July 29 in Fleetville, Pennsylvania.
The team will be working on fundraising over the next week. If you would like to contribute to the team's travel costs, contact Coach Russ Senerchia at firstname.lastname@example.org.