STAMFORD -- Senior Day at Stamford High School could not have come to a better close.
Faced with the game-tying run at home plate, senior batterymates Christina Joannou and Colleen Adams nailed down the game's final two outs on the same play to secure a 4-1 Stamford victory over New Canaan Monday. As Joannou fanned Ram center fielder Colette Pellegrini with one down in the seventh, Adams fired to first base, where she picked off right fielder Rachel Kortman to end it.
The Black Knights (13-5, 12-4 FCIAC) collected a mere five hits off New Canaan (10-8, 10-7 FCIAC), which suffered greatly from committing five errors. Ram starter Ali Reilly totaled seven strikeouts, as she traded punchouts with Joannou in every frame until the sixth. Yet the hometown hurler stole the show, capturing nine strikeouts over a one-run, complete-game effort.
"The seniors really came through for us today," Stamford coach Tony Esposito said. "Christina and Colleen were big time. Lauren (O'Neill) played a nice game for us, and we were able to get a couple big hits, which were the key to tack on those last runs."
Adams knocked in the initial run of game during the home half of the first inning, when she dropped a two-out single into left field. Sarah Staley followed by scoring Adams on an RBI double, before she was eventually stranded in a 2-0 ballgame. Back in the circle, Joannou held the next 16 Ram batters without a hit while the Knights scratched an additional, unearned run across in the bottom of the fourth.
"When you make a mistake against a great team like Stamford High and a great coach like Espo, they're going to make you pay," New Canaan coach Danielle Simoneau said. "And they did. They made us pay. You can't give them outs."
Down 3-0 in the top of the sixth, Pellegrini abruptly snapped her team's hitless streak by sending a lead-off liner to left. After a warning-track flyout from sister Rachel Keshin, Molly Keshin brought home the lone Ram run on an infield single. However, Joannou then settled in, inducing a pair of quick outs around an intentional walk to Reilly that combined to end the threat.
"I know I have an awesome team behind me," Joannou said of her tricky sixth frame. "They're going to field no matter what, so I just have to go full force."
During its final at-bats, Stamford matched New Canaan's run with another unearned score in the bottom of the inning. Reilly retired the first two hitters, leading to a softly hit ball from Nicole Pease, who advanced to second on a throwing error. The Rams then failed to handle an O'Neill grounder, allowing the final Knight run to cross the plate.
While the Rams put their first two hitters aboard to open the seventh, they couldn't overcome Joannou, who responded with consecutive strikeouts and watched her classmate Adams shut the door.
Could the pair have drawn it up any better on their special day?
"I don't think so," Adams said.
Stamford 4, New Canaan 1
New Canaan 000 001 0--1 4 5
Stamford200 101 0--4 5 1
Records: New Canaan 10-8, 10-7 FCIAC; Stamford 13-5, 12-4. Batteries: NC--Ali Reilly (L) and Molly Keshin: S--Christina Joannou (W) and Colleen Adams.
Highlights: NC--Freshman catcher Molly Keshin threw out two runners at second base and hit an RBI single in the sixth inning. Starter Ali Reilly finished with seven strikeouts. S--Starting pitcher Christina Joannou racked up nine strikeouts over a complete game. Colleen Adams, Lauren O'Neill and Sarah Staley each recorded an RBI.