By MICHAEL LETENDRE
FARMINGTON – Heading to a possible Central Connecticut Conference Southern Blue Division title, the softball squad from Bristol Eastern dispatched four different foes this past week, moving to 14-2 overall in a 4-0 sweep.
And bluntly, the outcomes were never in doubt.
All those games had very familiar feels with outstanding defense shutting down the competition and the Eastern bats smacking balls all over the field, putting timely and crooked numbers on the scoreboard during several innings of play.
First on Monday, May 8, the Lancers disposed of a very good squad from Farmington by a 16-2 push from Tunxis Mead Park.
Ace pitcher Erin Girard was sensational throughout the week – throwing complete games along the way – and against the Indians, she chucked a five-hitter.
And then the offense took over, nabbing a 6-0 lead before Farmington could even generate a single run.
Girard helped her own cause with a 4-of-5 performance at the plate that included a double and five RBI.
Makenzie Jankowski added three hits, a stolen base and an RBI while teammate Taylor Keegan went 2-of-5 with two doubles, three runs scored, and two RBI.
Paige McLaughlin picked up two hits, swiped a base and scooped up an RBI while Nicole D’Amato (1-for-3, run, RBI), Jillian Maghini (1-for-3, 2 runs, 2 SB), Emily Marquis (1-for-1, 3 runs) and Lauren Aparo (1-for-2, 2 runs, RBI, 2 BB) all chipped in something offensively.
And then Girard nearly racked up another no-hitter, allowing East Catholic just one hit, in Eastern’s 19-0 shutout of the Eagles two days later on Wednesday.
Girard was on top of her game, facing just one batter over the minimum.
She plunked one batter with a pitch in the fourth inning (which was quickly snuffed out by a 4-3 double play) while allowing the only hit of the game in the fifth frame.
Overall, Girard went five innings, striking out nine over another dominating performance.
Offensively, the Kingstreeters picked up 23 hits on the afternoon.
Maghini went a perfect 4-for-4 with two runs and four RBI, Jankowski was 4-of-5 with a triple, three runs scored and an RBI, while Aparo connecting for 3-of-4 hits at the plate with a double, a run and three RBI to her credit.
University of Bridgeport bound Mikayla Martin was 3-of-5 with two runs scored and three RBI while D’Amato was a perfect 2-for-2, tallying a double, two walks and four runs scored.
Also performing well for the Lancers was Alyssa Hackling (2-for-4, two runs, RBI), Keegan (2-for-5, triple, two runs, RBI), and McLaughlin (2-for-4, two runs).
Thursday saw the Lancers travel to Platt in Meriden and the Panthers became Eastern’s latest shutout victim.
It was only a 1-0 game going into the sixth inning but eight runs later, Eastern grabbed an important 9-0 win on the road.
D’Amato was the standout in this one by going 3-of-4 at the plate along with two runs scored and two RBI.
Five other players tallied two runs apiece during the triumph as Keegan (2-of-5, RBI), Jankowski (2-of-5, two runs), Hackling (2-of-4, two runs, RBI), Maghini (2-of-4, double, run, RBI), and Aparo (2-of-4, RBI) all did well for the visitors.
On the pitching front, Girard won once again on top of her game.
It was a seven inning, five hit, one walk and 13 strikeout affair as the freshman chucker continued to impress.
And then to complete the sweep of the week, Eastern – despite just four hits – sunk Berlin by a 9-3 final from King Street in Bristol on Friday, May 12.
It was a 3-1 contest, in the Redcoats’ favor, midway through the fifth inning before the Lancers ended the game with eight straight runs to win its eighth straight contest.
In that fateful fifth frame, Martin blasted two extra-base hits, a double – a one-hopper over the fence in left field – and a triple, snaring three RBI in the process to give the Lancers the lead for good.
She accounted for half of the Lancers total hits on the afternoon.
Jankowski added a hit, two runs and two RBI while McLaughlin had the other hit for Eastern.
In this wild affair, the Lancers walked 12 times and absorbed three hit batsmen.
Girard showed additional grit, going seven strong innings, giving up just eight hits, no earned runs, to go along with eight K’s.
Comments? Email mletendre@BristolObserver.com. Follow him on Twitter, @LTrain1994