Westhill, Darien and Trumbull have been the teams to beat in the FCIAC the past five seasons. This spring, Greenwich has put itself right in the mix.
The Cardinals are in the midst of one of their best seasons in years. After Friday’s 11-9 win over visiting Westhill – their first victory over the Vikings since the 2004 season – the Cardinals are in 11-4 on the season and an impressive 12-3 in the ultra-competitive FCIAC.
GHS coach Mary Beth Fratello told me after Friday’s win vs. Westhill that the team also hasn’t qualified for the FCIAC Tournament since 2004, but the victory against the Vikings went a long way toward putting the Cardinals in position to do so. If the season ended today, the Cards would indeed, be in the conference tournament. The difference between this year’s Cardinals team and previous years’ squads? As Fratello puts it, this team can string hits together, pitch and play strong defense. In other words, the Cardinals are a well rounded team that doesn’t rely solely on its pitcher or small ball to win games.
Senior Alison Kach has been one of the FCIAC’s top pitchers the past two seasons, consistently giving the team quality starts. But this year’s Cardinals team has also been led by its deep lineup. Junior shortstop Rebecca Decarlo (2 for 4, two runs scored against Westhill) has jump started the team from the top of the lineup all season. Second baseman Colleen Bennett (3 for 4, two runs scored vs. Westhill) is a clutch No. 2 hitter, while Kach (3 for 4, two RBI Friday) brings power and run production from the No. 3 spot in the order.
Junior catcher Erin Ferguson, who had three hits and three RBI Friday, is a force at the cleanup spot in the order, as is first baseman Ebba Mark, who bats fifth. Erin White, Madison Burhans, Kaitlyn Gowans and Jenn Ambrogio (2-run triple vs. Westhill) have also provided punch from the bottom of the order.
“It seems like lately, everything is coming together,” Fratello said. “This team makes some noise with its hitting, gets great pitching and plays timely defense. Everybody is contributing.”
Said Bennett: “It’s not just coming from one spot in the order. We’re really good at starting rallies and we keep them going.”
The Cardinals, who have already qualified for the state tournament, showed they are a team to watch heading into the postseason, and Friday’s victory certainly gave them a shot in the arm.
“This is a big deal,” Kach said. “We haven’t beaten Westhill in a very long time, so we were looking out for them from the beginning of the season. There’s only two weeks left in the season, so we need to focus and work hard.”