Down 5-0 in the fifth inning, visiting Fairfield Warde's softball team had its chances of climbing back into the game dashed as St. Joseph doubled its lead with five runs in that frame en route to a 10-0 triumph on Monday afternoon in Trumbull.
The Cadets had four singles and capitalized on two errors in the put-away inning. Warde dropped its first game of the season in a battle of 3-0 FCIAC teams.
"That's the fastest pitcher we've seen so far -- kind of tough to adjust," Warde captain and second baseman Kenzie Burns said.
Burns said the team will face tough pitchers again this season and she and fellow captain, Michelle Treglia, agree that the Mustangs stand to benefit from Monday's experience.
"I think we're definitely going to take this game and use it to help us in the future," said Treglia, a shortstop, adding that the experience of facing a tough thrower can only pay dividends.
What the Mustangs need to do, the players and coach Gary Quiricone say, is find ways to alter their approach to different types of pitchers.
"They know, definitely, what adjustments they have to make," Quiricone said. "We'll bounce back."
Warde committed four errors to help the Cadets build on their lead. Quiricone wants to see his team play a more sound defensive game going forward.
"Early on we were right there in the game. We made uncharacteristic defensive mistakes and it kind of opened the door for them -- for their hitters," Quiricone said. "You can't give the opposing team mistakes on defense and not hit the ball.
"We started out 3-0. It's our first loss -- we're a strong team. We'll make these adjustments and we'll be right back on track," Quiricone said.
The Mustangs made a nice defensive play, and took advantage of a base running miscue by St. Joseph, in the sixth. The Cadets had a runner on and a base hit threatened to extend the already double-digit lead. Warde right fielder Richelle Barone fielded the ball and threw to West, the catcher, who fired the ball to third. The Cadets' lead runner dove back in time, but the other base runner got caught advancing too far off second base. Warde third baseman Emma Houghton threw to Burns, who applied the tag for the out.
"Warde always puts a good team on the field. Those first couple innings were tight," St. Joseph coach Jeff Babineau said.
Andy Hutchison is a freelance reporter