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Tuesday, January 22 High School Sports

Softball: Ludlowe stuns Warde with walk-off homer

FAIRFIELD — Hitting one walk-off home run over the course of a career, let alone a season, is usually cause for celebration. But two walk-offs over the course of two games? That’s automatic legend status.

OK, maybe not legend status but for Ludlowe freshman first baseman Kaitlyn Romero, the post-game autograph signing and the posing for photos after came after her second walk-off homer in two games, just proved what a lot of people already know, the Falcons are a pretty special team.

Romero, who hammered a two-run, game winning walk-off home run against Staples on Wednesday, did the same on Friday against town-rival Warde, crushing a three-run homer over the centerfield fence, giving the Falcons a comeback 5-4 win over a stunned Mustangs squad at Dougiello Field.

“I was just looking for something to put in play, a base hit, try to move them over and maybe score them,” Romero said. “But to hit a walk-off … it means the world to me, especially twice in a row. It’s kind of surreal.”

Trailing 4-2 heading into the bottom of the seventh, Madeline Reyes opened with a single and Elizabeth Doolan followed with a single to put runners at first and second with no outs. Ira Boci’s slow grounder to first advanced the runners into scoring position and on a full-count pitch, Romero powered the ball over the center field fence for that game-winning three-run walk-off winner.

“It was over the plate and I made good contact with it,” Romero said. “We knew we could do it, we just had to scrap it together. Even though it was a high-pressure situation, I’m really proud of what we’ve put together.”

“There were a couple of bloopers in the inning and then we went 3-2 and we called a pitch outside and the ball didn’t break,” Warde coach Gary Quiricone said. “I have to tip my hat to Ludlowe, they played a strong game … it came down to that final at-bat.”

Ludlowe grabbed a 2-0 lead in the second when Kylee Holderied hammered an RBI double and Sarah Szuchman had an RBI single but Warde responded in the fourth when Katie Goodchild homered to get the Mustangs within 2-1 and the Mustangs rode that momentum for four more hits, including a two-run double from Sophie Sancho and an RBI single from Haley Bivens to make it 4-2 Warde.

“We started hitting line drives, a lot of momentum,” Quiricone said. “We’ve been talking about being patient at the plate, don’t jump out at the pitch, let it get to you and when you do, level swing and drive the ball. That was our theme in the middle innings and it jelled.”

Heading into the seventh, Bivens - usually Warde’s No. 2 pitcher - had been stellar, replacing an injured Olivia Vadas, who’s nursing a sore shoulder.

“She’s taking over for Olivia, she’s doing a great job,” Quiricone said. “She did a great job of painting the corners and keeping us in the game. She did a great job.”

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But in the bottom of the seventh, Reyes and Doolan singled and Romero went deep to give Ludlowe its 14th win this season.

“Hitting two walk-off home runs in back-to-back games as a freshman is very impressive,” Ludlowe coach Lou Bunosso said. “That at-bat there, she was looking fastball and she was looking outside corner, because that’s where the pitcher had been throwing the entire game. It was a great at-bat, she worked the count full and waited for one to drive … and she drove it.”


Ludlowe’s Caitlyn Romero. The freshman went 2 for 4 with two runs scored and three RBI, Oh, did I mention she hit a game-winning three-run homer in the bottom of the seventh?


“Listen, this team will fight with the best of them. I’m so proud of these kids. We’re down … we’re down a couple of players because of injuries, we have players playing out of position, but they work so hard in every game they play.” - Warde coach Gary Quiricone


Ludlowe took home the initial Walker Softball Champions Cup to put in the team’s trophy case.



WARDE 000 400 0—4 8 0

LUDLOWE 020 000 3—5 14 1

Records: Warde (8-9, 5-7 FCIAC); Ludlowe (14-3, 12-1 FCIAC)

Batteries: W - Haley Bivens (L) and Lizzie Kane; L - Kylee Holderied (W) and Ira Boci. Highlights: W - Katie Goodchild hit a home run; Sophie Sancho had a two RBI double, Haley Bivens had an RBI single. L - Madeline Reyes went 4 for 4 with a run scored, Kylee Holderied went 3 for 3 with a double, a run scored and an RBI. Caitlyn Romero had two hits and a game-winning three-run homer in the bottom of the seventh.