WEST HAVEN — The character of a team is often revealed in its darkest moments. Trailing Amity 13-0 and down to its last out in the Class LL final, the Trumbull softball team could have simply packed it in and no one would have batted an eye.
Instead, the Eagles showed the same resilience and fight that carried them to the championship game, mounting a furious seventh-inning rally by scoring seven two-out runs before ultimately falling to the Spartans 13-7 at West Haven’s Biondi Field.
“To have the resilience, and have the heart playing for pride and that Trumbull softball name across your chest — that says a lot about the kids in my dugout, not just as softball players, but as human beings,” Trumbull head coach Jacqui Sheftz said. “They’re fighters, they don’t give up and I am so proud of them for that bottom of the seventh inning. That’s who we are.”
Meanwhile No. 5 Amity rode the momentum of Monday’s miraculous 6-5 semifinal comeback win over Southington, pounding out 17 hits and looking every bit like a team of destiny.
“It’s unbelievable,” Amity head coach Sara Hale said. “This group of girls is the best group we’ve ever had. They’re together and believe in themselves. We were on a roll and we knew we could do it.”
Co-MVPs Dani Nordyk and Brooke Matyasovsky combined for nine hits, five runs and seven RBIs for the Spartans, who claimed their sixth Class LL title.
Trumbull tallied 11 hits in the game, led by junior Maggie Coffin, sophomore Julia Huzi, senior Courtney Fairfield and freshman Cassi Barbato, each of whom had two hits.
Amity set the tone early, scoring twice in the top of the first off Trumbull’s freshman starter Mackenzie Bruggeman. Senior shortstop Nicole Koshes led off with a single and moved to second on Nordyk’s infield hit.
After a groundout advanced both base runners, Matyasovsky drove a single to right, scoring Koshes and Nordyk for a 2-0 lead.
The Spartans added to their advantage in the third, although not without some controversy.
With one out, Nordyk doubled down the leftfield line. Carly Marchitto followed with a hard grounder to left, and although Trumbull leftfielder Ava Dunn’s throw beat Nordyk to the plate, an obstruction call allowed the run to score, with Marchitto taking second.
“I think that’s a huge call in a state playoff game,” Sheftz said. “That would have been out number two. The next girl grounds out to the shortstop and we would have been out of the inning going into the bottom of the third down 2-0. I think that was a huge turning point in the game.”
Instead the Spartans had a 3-0 lead, which quickly became 4-0 on sophomore Marissa Dwyer’s double to left that scored Marchitto.
Amity tacked on four additional runs in the top of the fourth and three more in the fifth, extending to an 11-0 lead. Meanwhile, the Eagles — despite several hard-hit balls off Amity starter Grace Whitman—could not get that timely hit, leaving five on base through the first six innings.
The Spartans scored twice in the top of the seventh, which looked at the time to be unnecessary insurance. Instead, it proved to be the difference between whether or not Trumbull got the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the seventh.
Bruggeman led off the final inning with a single to right. Megan Geraghty followed with a line-drive single to left, moving pinch runner Kathryn Zanvettor to second. Whitman then retired Coffin and Huzi on consecutive fly balls to right, pulling the Spartans to within one out of the championship.
Senior Alexa Adinolfi kept the Eagles alive with a liner to left, scoring Zanvettor and moving Geraghty to second. A walk to senior Delilha DeStefano loaded the bases for Fairfield, who promptly drove a pitch over the centerfield fence for a grand slam, cutting the Amity lead to 13-5.
Trumbull quickly loaded the bases again as Barbato singled, Dunn reached on an error and Bruggeman walked, driving Whitman from the game. Reliever Kelly Pritchard walked Geraghty and Coffin, forcing in two more Trumbull runs to make it 13-7.
That was as close as the Eagles would get, however, as Pritchard induced a grounder to third for a force out, ending Trumbull’s rally and clinching the title for the Spartans, their first since 2012.
The Eagles fell one win short of repeating as the Class LL champs, a remarkable feat considering the graduation losses of six starters — most notably pitcher Ally Szabo, shortstop Taylor Brown and centerfielder Lea Thompson — coupled with an injury to starting pitcher Emily Gell, relegated to relief duty with a stress fracture in her ankle.
“I think it’s the culture of Trumbull softball,” Sheftz said. “We’re here to play for championships and the girls truly believe that. We were down to our last out against Middletown and came back to win that game. We lost our starting pitcher but Mackenzie stepped in and got us to the state championship game in tandem with Emily. I love this team and the resilience they had all season long. Trumbull softball is on the map and we will be back.”