One of the most senseless phone calls of my sportswriting career took place on June 7. It was the day before the Stamford softball team played Trumbull in the Class LL semifinal. I had known for weeks that Black Knights coach Tony Esposito planned to announce at the end of the season that he would be retiring, but was asked to keep the news a secret so he didn’t become the story and take the spotlight from his players.
Sophia Barbour is savoring the final days playing this summer with the Connecticut Angels travel softball team. There is one more tournament remaining, then she is taking a trip to Spain before beginning her freshman year at Penn State.
Barbour is uncertain about her future with the sport — it is possible her final competitive game is imminent. Barbour thinks she will play college club ball and, because of her age, would be eligible to play one more season with the Angels.
The high point of the season evolved from the lowest for the Trumbull softball team, a humbling 11-0 home loss to town rival St. Joseph in the first round of the FCIAC Tournament.
STRATFORD – The way Trumbull’s Ally Szabo was pitching in today’s Class LL semifinal, second-guessing Stamford coach Tony Esposito’s decision to call for softball’s riskiest play in a scoreless game in the bottom of the sixth would be illogical.
The Black Knights had just collected their first hit off Szabo, a triple by Lauren O’Neill, to lead off the sixth. They had their best bunter, Sara Staley, at the plate. They had their fastest runner on third with no outs. There is no perfect time for a suicide squeeze play, but this situation was certainly close to it.
FAIRFIELD – It would seem at first glance that the championship mission for the Darien High School softball team began back in March, when most FCIAC prognosticators were predicting that the Blue Wave would be a mediocre, middle-of-the-pack squad that would be content with merely making the postseason.
And here is the second episode, with Westhill softball captain Gabby Laccona as the guest. Sports & Scoops will run throughout the next month, and who knows after that.
So much for a planned FCIAC baseball tournament preview, now that the pairings will remain unsettled until less than 24 hours before the first pitch. We still don’t have a No. 8 seed. The girls lacrosse tournament begins today with New Canaan and Ridgefield having their openers moved up a day because both schools have proms tomorrow.
STAMFORD — Gabby Laccona’s arrival at Westhill High School four years ago was in many respects rather typical — if you are an elite athlete who has earned distinction and created a buzz at the youth level.
Laccona was trumpeted as the next great player in the Vikings’ rich softball history. It is a burden to put on a freshman, and Laccona said she was oblivious to the hype.
STAMFORD — Today was Flashback Monday for Stamford softball, a throwback to two decades ago, when the city’s three FCIAC teams won six straight conference titles, the best stretch in the illustrious history of the Stamford High, Westhill and Trinity Catholic programs.
FAIRFIELD — There were 11 strikeouts, four errors and a number of negatives that could have led the Stamford softball team today to become the second contender from its home city to lose to Fairfield Warde in five days.
But with one exception, the Black Knights have been able to summon the resolve and find different veterans to step up and overcome their lapses to remain atop the FCIAC standings.