Schools Sports

Conard Softball Falls Short: Red Wolves 1 Win Away from Securing Playoff Spot

All eyes are on the plate as Conard's Nicole Denault is tagged out at home by Glastonbury catcher Taylor Page while pitcher Gabrielle Lambert backs-up the play. Conard vs. Glastonbury softball. May 4, 2023. Photo credit: Paul Palmer

Conard hosted Glastonbury in West Hartford on Thursday afternoon, hoping to pick up the win it needed to secure a playoff berth.

Sophia Pincince glides into second on her fourth inning double. Conard vs. Glastonbury softball. May 4, 2023. Photo credit: Paul Palmer

By Paul Palmer

The winner of the Glastonbury-Conard softball game Thursday would pick up an eighth win of the season and earn a spot in the state tournament when it starts later this month. Both teams entered with seven wins, and Glastonbury left with its eighth after a late Conard rally fell short 9-5. 

“They are really good,” first year Conard coach Kevin Mason said of the visiting Guardians. ”We were just one or two plays away from being with them.” It was just a matter of a few plays, a few misplays and a few key hits that made the difference.

Senior Rayah Snyder was a thorn in the Red Wolves’ paw all game long. She led off the game with a triple and scored the games’ opening run. She would come a home run away from hitting for the cycle and made some sparkling plays on defense.

Conard catcher Charlene Rodriguez waits for the throw as Glastonbury’s Rayah Snyder comes in with the game’s first run Thursday. Conard vs. Glastonbury softball. May 4, 2023. Photo credit: Paul Palmer

Leading 2-0 entering the fourth inning, Glastonbury managed to push across three more – two  knocked in by Snyder – using hits, a bad bounce, and some defensive lapses by Conard. With one out, Glastonbury hit back-to-hack singles and then saw the runners move up on a passed ball. Morgan Page then ripped a shot at shortstop that took a hard, high bounce off shortstop Sadie Forcucci, allowing one run to score. Snyder then doubled through the hole between short and third to make it 5-0.

Conard scratched out their first run of the game in the bottom half of the inning. Sydney Miranda grounded to short, but Snyder’s throw to first went wide allowing the hitter to get to second. After moving to third on a fielders choice, Miranda scored on Sophia Pincince’s single to left.

Shortstop Sadira Forcucci follows through on her throw to first base against Glastonbury. Conard vs. Glastonbury softball. May 4, 2023. Photo credit: Paul Palmer

The fifth inning turned out to be the turning point of the game. Glastonbury increased its lead to 7-2 in the top of the inning. In the bottom half, Conard got a leadoff single  from Noel Denault and with two outs Forcucci ripped a shot to center field. Mason sent Denault home on the play, but a picture-perfect relay from centerfielder Natalie Lessard to Snyder to catcher Taylor Page just beat Denault at home and the inning was over.

The Conard bench grew silent and you could feel the air go out of the home side.

After giving up a pair in the top of the sixth, the Red  Wolves had their best inning in the game. Miranda singled and one out later Pincince did the same. Nina Ostafin then lashed a grounder through the legs of the third baseman, allowing both runs to score. Following a strikeout, Denault came through with an RBI single, and came in to score on a Lily Zucks pinch-hit single before the Guardians got the final out of the inning at 9-5. “I think the second time through the lineup they figured it out,” said Mason of his hitters.

Sydney Miranda of Conard makes the stretch and catch for the out at first. Conard vs. Glastonbury softball. May 4, 2023. Photo credit: Paul Palmer

Conard made noise again in the bottom of the seventh and final inning. With one out, Miranda drilled a line drive back at Glastonbury pitcher Gabrielle Lambert. It struck her in the wrist and rolled away, allowing Miranda to reach first and forcing Lambert from the game. Catcher Charlene Rodriguez welcomed the new Glastonbury pitcher with a double to put runners on second and third with just one out. Pitcher Bella Derench managed to get a strikeout and induce a pop-up to third to end the threat and the game at 9-5.

“They are still working hard every day and are very motivated,” Mason said of his team. He’d like to see the Wolves pick up three more wins on the season to give them a better seed in the post season tournament.

On Friday, they face four-win New Britain, before showdowns with three of the best teams in the area in Maloney, Glastonbury, and Southington. Conard finishes the season with a road game at Bristol Eastern (5-6)  and a season finale at home against one-win Hall.

Glastonbury’s Reilly Cotter slides in safe under catcher Charlene Rodriguez of Conard. Conard vs. Glastonbury softball. May 4, 2023. Photo credit: Paul Palmer

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