Softball pg 7 6-10-21

Slides In
The Centaurs’ Lexi Thompson slides back safely to third against Platt in a Class L  softball state tournament first-round game at the Bentley Athletic Complex.

There were tears. But there were also plenty of smiles after the initial disappointment waned.
The Woodstock Academy softball team saw its season come to an end in the second round of the Class L state tournament with a 19-9 loss at home to Foran from Milford.
“I just said to them, ‘It’s the state tournament. Every team but one ends on a loss. The loss is not indicative of the season. We had one of the best seasons that they ever had here, definitely the best season since I’ve been here. I’m proud of the kids. It was a fun ride, a fun season,” said Woodstock Academy coach Jason Gerum.
The Centaurs finished with an 18-5 record.
It ended against the Lions who featured bats that roared.
 “They play in the (Southern Connecticut Conference) and battle all the (Class) LL schools down there. They are probably one of the smaller schools but there is a big population down there, a ton of kids playing. Our pitchers are good, but they see good pitchers all the time. I knew it was going to be a slugfest. They simply outslugged us,” Gerum said.
Foran scored the 19 runs on 20 hits including a two-run home run by their eighth batter, Sarah Connelly.
Still, it was the Centaurs who led early. Mackenzie Leveille knocked in Sarah McArthur with a double in the first inning and Lexi Thompson followed with an RBI double of her own to give Woodstock Academy the early 2-1 lead.
McArthur made it 3-1 in the second inning with an RBI single and the Centaurs raised their advantage to four, 6-2, in the third on a two-run triple by Madison Martinez and a Marissa Mayhew single.
Foran took the lead for good when it scored seven times in the fourth inning, added four more in the sixth and lit up the scoreboard again in the seventh when it scored six times.
 “I feel like we really gave it our all but at the end of the day, they were a really good team and someone had to lose,” said senior Meg Preston.
The Centaurs opened the state tournament with a hard-fought, 4-3, 8-inning win over No. 24 Platt of Meriden.
It was an interesting game as some base-running blunders cost the Centaurs and miscues in the field allowed Platt some extra opportunities.
It’s the price of having a very young squad. “It’s just little mental errors,” said Gerum. “Sometimes, playing so aggressively in (Division 2) all year, you’re doing some things that you probably shouldn’t be doing in the Class L state tournament. That’s the aggressive mentality but you have to sharpen up this time of year.”
Platt was the little team that could. The Panthers had only nine players dressed for the game.
“Their pitcher (Emily Hart) is great and they have a couple of really good players at the top of their lineup. (Hart) can keep a team in any game,” Gerum said.
Woodstock Academy’s only early run came across in the first inning when McArthur scored courtesy of a pair of Platt errors.
Platt tied the game and it wasn’t until the sixth inning that the Centaurs finally broke the deadlock. Leveille doubled and eventually scored on a passed ball. Thompson then walked, stole second and scored on an error to give the Centaurs a 3-1 advantage.
But Platt rebounded against Thompson, who came on in relief of Leveille in the circle, in the bottom of the sixth with a pair of hits, including a triple, and a dropped third strike that allowed them to plate the tying runs.
Woodstock Academy answered in the bottom of the eighth when Thompson singled and both Delaney Anderson and Mia Pannone reached on fielder’s choice plays.
That brought up senior Marissa Mayhew who found patience was a virtue.
She worked Hart to a 3-2 count and then took the free pass, forcing Thompson home with the game-winning run that sent the Centaurs into the second round of the tournament.
“It was a 2-1 count at one point and I said, ‘You know, a walk is as good as a hit.’ I told myself I can’t think that way, I have to be ready to swing so I kept my head in and took what they gave me which wasn’t a strike,” Mayhew said.
It was a year to remember for the Centaurs as they went to an ECC  Div. 2 championship game and finished with the 18 wins.
“I think it was super special. A lot of us juniors didn’t get a chance to play last year so we really wanted to prove to everyone that we weren’t just some small-town school. That we could do something,” Preston said.
Preston is one of the four seniors, along with Mayhew, Leveille and Amanda Bond, who will not return.
“I just said to them, with the exception of the rebuild many years ago at Tourtellotte in soccer and basketball, they played, by far, the most games for me as any athlete I’ve coached in a four-year period. I spent a lot of time, a lot of hours, with those four. They will be missed and they are the reason why we are competing with high level teams now,” Gerum said.
The good thing for the program, the Centaurs have a lot coming back. “As good as we are and as much as we will miss the seniors, we have six or seven kids rotating into the starting lineup that are freshmen and sophomores. (Against Foran), we started eight kids who are all coming back,” Gerum said.
Marc Allard
Director of Sports Information
The Woodstock Academy


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