Conard hosted East Hartford in West Hartford on Wednesday, April 20.
By Paul Palmer
The early season secret to success for the Conard girls softball team has been scoring – and scoring big. Entering Wednesday’s game with East Hartford, the Chieftains had scored 37 and 19 runs in their two wins. In their three losses, they had scored a combined five runs.
This time, it was another offensive onslaught as Conard scored 23 runs in the win over the Hornets.
The visitors got on the board first when Jada Quiles doubled to left, and advanced to third on a throwing error. Quiles came around to score on Julea Casasol singled to center. That would be about all the offense the Hornets would muster as they would be held to just one more run in the game that ended after 4½ innings.
Conard would take the lead in their half of the first. Emilia Santiago doubled in Carol Austin, and came around to score on an error by East Hartford.
After a 1-2-3 top of the second for the visitors, Conard took control of the game in the bottom half of the inning. Seventeen hitters would come to the plate, and 12 of them would score. Sophia Pincince singled twice, Amanda Hungerford doubled and singled to collect 2 RBI, Santiago doubled and walked, and Sydney Miranda and Charliene Rodriguez also doubled for an RBI.
In the third, Conard began substituting players, and starting pitcher Tatyanah Datil would get her second consecutive 1-2-3 inning before her teammates added seven more runs in the bottom half. Rachel Giroux singled in a run, and RBI’s for Austin, Ellie Soucy, Miranda, and Sadira Forcucci – who doubled and singled – made it 21-1 after three.
For much of the inning, Conard went station-to-station on the bases with the game in hand. Conard continued substituting players, and moved others around to new positions. At the plate, East Hartford’s pitchers were having trouble getting the ball across the plate.
Nina Ostafin relieved Datil in the top of the fourth on the mound. The Hornets would score their second run with a single, a walk, and then an RBI single. Ostafin finished off the inning with a pair of strikeouts – the second one as part of a double play when the runner from third strayed too far afield and was thrown out after the strikeout.
Errors and walks by East Hartford in the bottom of the frame allowed Conard to score two more times. In the inning Conard’s coaching staff did everything it could to mitigate the one-sided nature of the game. Several players were asked to bunt to keep the ball in the infield, and two runners were called out for leaving the base ahead of time on a pitch. With the score 23-2, Conard’s final batter of the inning and the game bunted back to the pitcher for the put out at first, but at least one person in the seats was overheard complaining about the Chieftains trying to hold down the score in the spirit of sportsmanship.
In their last licks, East Hartford also used its bench to get in some at-bats, but Ostafin got a routine ground out to short, a strikeout, then loaded the bases on walks, before striking out the game’s final batter.
The win moved Conard to .500 on the season at 3-3, while East Hartford fell to 1-6.
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