A pitcher’s duel in every sense of the term, Monday night’s clash between Greenwich and New Canaan at Waveny Park was chalk full of nail-biting tension from start to finish. New Canaan sophomore pitcher Ally Reilly stole the show by pitching a complete game shutout and striking out 10 while giving up just five hits and one walk to lead her team to a critical 1-0 win.
Pitchers on point: Although she was saddled with a hard-luck loss, Greenwich pitcher Allison Kach turned in a gem of her own. Kach handled all six innings while yielding just one run on three hits, three walks, two hit batters and seven strikeouts. Although New Canaan’s lineup hasn’t produced big run totals in recent games, it still boasts plenty of capable hitters, and Kach was outstanding at keeping the Rams off balance for the majority of the game.
As for the Rams, they may well have found a No. 2 pitcher to compliment usual starter Cydney Ventura, who served as the designated hitter Monday. Pitching depth isn’t quite as critical in softball as it is in baseball for the simple reason that most softball pitchers are more than capable of pitching on short rest, but the Rams clearly have options and that could be a valuable commodity in the postseason.
Clutch with two outs: New Canaan scored the game’s only run in the third inning, and that was after Kach retired the first two batters. Down 0-2 in the count, Courtney Rogers got things going by lining a single into centerfield. Cydney Ventura plated Rogers by going to the opposite field for a hard-hit triple. Even though it was only the third inning, it was hard not to get the sense that these two consecutive hits could be the difference in the game.
FCIAC playoffs in sight: The importance of this game as it pertains to the FCIAC playoff picture was not lost on either team. Both the Rams and Cardinals entered the game as borderline playoff teams. As a result of the win, New Canaan improved to 8-5 in the FCIAC which is good enough to put them alone in seventh place. Greenwich, meanwhile, dropped to 7-6 in the FCIAC and fell to 11th place.
Baseball and softball postseason tournaments have proven to be as wide open as any sport at the high school level, so any team who gets in has a shot. As they say, you have to be in it to win it.