NEW CANAAN -- The scoreboard explained the difference in Thursday's softball game between Westhill and New Canaan as a matter of six runs scored at the plate. However, the truth lay in the disparity between each teams' defensive execution out in the field.
Behind a complete game effort from starter Sadie-Rose Apfel, Westhill earned a 7-1 victory over the Rams at Waveny Park in New Canaan. Freshman Kaira Ramon went 2-for-4 and collected a pair of RBIs in the Vikings' four-run sixth inning that blew the game open and included two New Canaan errors. The Rams recorded a total of five on the day, for their second consecutive home game with as many miscues.
"This was the best game we've played this year," Westhill coach Tom Pia said. "We were up for it because we were playing against New Canaan ¦ and we did all of the little things today."
Rams starter Ali Reilly pitched all seven innings, allowing only two earned runs and notching seven strikeouts. However, she couldn't match Apfel, who retired the last 10 New Canaan batters she faced after giving up an RBI triple to Claire Conley in the fourth. The Vikings' hurler attributed her success to a slight tweak made in her delivery during a recent pitching lesson.
"I fixed something mechanically that I knew once I made that correction, my pitches would have more movement and more control," Apfel said. "It was definitely my best game this year. I think I've had better games in the past, but my movement in this game looked amazing."
The host Rams scattered five hits over the early innings compared Westhill's game total of six, half of which came in the sixth inning. The Vikings opened the frame with three straight base hits, before Conley overthrew catcher Molly Keshin on a force play at home plate. Three batters later, a dropped fly ball to right field set up the final Westhill run of the game. Reilly went on to strike out the final two Vikings in the seventh.
"It's hard. She's out there giving everything she's got, and as a pitcher, when you feel like you don't have anything behind you, you try to do a little too much," New Canaan coach Danielle Simoneau said. "I thought at times she was trying to carry the eight other girls that were out there, when she just needs to sit back and play her one position. But that's the drive she has."
Westhill initially got on the board in the first inning via a Ramon single that was quickly coupled with a sacrifice bunt. Following a pair of pass balls, Ramon came around to score. The Vikings' 1-0 lead then lasted until the fourth and fifth frame, when they were able to add a run in each inning despite logging only one hit over that stretch.
Both teams will return to the diamond on Monday for conference play, as Westhill battles Danbury and New Canaan travels to Fairfield Warde.
Westhill 7, New Canaan 1
WESTHILL 100 114 0--7 6 0 Read Full Article
NEW CANAAN 000 100 0--1 5 5
Records: Westhill 3-2, 3-1 FCIAC; New Canaan 1-4, 1-3 FCIAC. Batteries: W--Sadie-Rose Apfel (W, 2-1) and Jordan Benzaken; NC--Ali Reilly (L, 0-3) and Molly Keshin.
Highlights: W--Sadie-Rose Apfel threw a complete game and reached base in all three plate appearances. Kaira Ramon went 2-for-4 with a double and two runs scored. NC--Claire Conley knocked an RBI triple to center in the fourth inning to score the Rams' only run of the game.