Tough break for the Masuk softball team.
For the second straight year their season ends with a semifinal loss in the state tournament, at DeLuca Field no less. Throw in the fact the Panthers have also lost in the SWC semifinals — also at DeLuca — and perhaps next year coach Jacqui Sheftz can petition for her team to play at West Haven.
That said, Masuk has a long track record of success in Stratford, including five-straight SWC titles at DeLuca and a pair of state titles at the venue during the Rachele Fico era.
How’s this for coincidence, though?
When Masuk lost to Brookfield in the 2012 SWC semifinals it didn’t strikeout against Bobcats starter Brittany Fusek. Again, Monday, against Southington in the Class LL semifinals they didn’t K against Jordyn Moquin, yet still lost — and didn’t get a hit until the sixth inning.
“Southington … we hit the ball to them and they made the plays. Their defense was on the top of its game today,” Sheftz said. “It was the matter of us catching a couple breaks and we did in the seventh inning but its really hard to come back.”
If there’s some upside for Masuk, it started five sophomores and four juniors Monday — so barring injuries, its entire team should return for another run at postseason glory.
There was a sense from talking with Masuk pitcher Tatum Buckley after the game that the Panthers want to win so badly that it’s affecting their play, if only a little bit.
“We all want it so bad, that maybe we start to press sometimes,” she said.
* Masuk centerfielder Brittany DaMotta made a very nice shoestring catch in the first.
* Southington third baseman Alyssa Dumphy had an absolute cannon for a throwing arm.
* It was cloudy all game, with a little rain, but it held off despite looking ominous and the game took barely over an hour.
* Word is, if Amity beats Westhill in the other Class LL semifinal at DeLuca that the final will be played Friday night. If Westhill wins, likely it’s the 7 p.m. game Saturday night.