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Marathon finish challenges Warriors

Canton gets four wins with five games in five days
CANTON, May 30, 2009 — It’s been a marathon for the Canton High girls softball team, which heads into Monday’s Class S tournament with a 13-6 record. At one point, the Warriors had 10 days off due to the rain. They paid the price two weeks ago. From May 18 to 22, they played five games in five days.

They won four of five games but it cost them starting pitcher Maureen Gauthier, who sat out last week with a deep bruise in her hip. In fact, Gauthier struggled in the final two games of the week against Suffield and Granby but gutted it out.

She missed games against New Britain and a NCCC semifinal with Ellington but was cleared to play in the state tournament beginning Monday.

The Warriors began the marathon week with a tight 1-0 decision over Windsor Locks to remain in contention for the league championship. Sarah Sapia reached base on a bunt single in the third inning and scored on Stephanie Gauthier’s two-out single. Mo Gauthier scattered seven hits but received plenty of help from the defense.

Windsor Locks had runners on second and third base with one out in the bottom of the seventh but the batter ripped a line drive that second baseman Fran Klimczak leaped into the air to catch and as soon as she landed, she fired the ball to third baseman Deanna Nappi to end the game with a double play.
Klimczak had taken off a few innings and being hit in the elbow by a pitch. Windsor Locks pitcher Kelly Martin fanned 14 batters.

Canton (13-6, 10-3 NCCC) followed up that game with a 16-1 win over Bolton with a home run and triple from Melissa Parente.

On Wednesday, the Warriors faced an East Windsor team that had won just one of its previous 17 games. But the Panthers played tough. It was 2-2 after four innings and Canton had a slim 3-2 lead after six. In the top of the seventh inning, Melissa Parente hit a two-run home run that was immediately followed by a homer from Mo Gauthier for a 6-2 victory.

On Thursday, Canton played at Suffield with a shot at the NCCC championship on the line. With a win, Canton could have won a share of the championship by beating Granby on the next day. If Suffield won, they claimed a share of the league title with Ellington.

The Wildcats (11-2 NCCC) made a pair of first inning runs stand up in a 2-0 victory to win a share of its third straight NCCC championship. Julie Muscarella had an RBI triple that scored Alyssa Wagner, who walked. Muscarella scored on an infield single from pitcher Angie Moskwa. On the mound, Moskwa scattered six hits, struck out nine and walked none.

Canton closed out the week against Granby. The Warriors took a 6-0 lead after two innings with a two-RBI singles from Fran Klimczak and Stephanie Gauthier. But the long week finally caught up with Mo Gauthier, who walked five and allowed three hits in a six-run fourth inning to tie up the game.

The game went into extra innings and Granby took a 8-6 lead in the ninth inning thanks to a double, error and two-RBI triple.

Parente reached first base by dropping a hit over third baseman. With one out, Jess Schroeder reached on an error. But thanks to multiple errors on Schroeder’s hit, both scored to tie up the game.

Nicole Batan singled and moved to third on a bunt single from Sarah Sapia. Batan scored on a wild pitch for the game-winner.

Mo Gauthier didn’t play in last week’s 1-0 loss to New Britain in nine innings in a night game at Chelsey Park in New Britain. Canton freshman Kristina Caldwell struck out two and scattered eight hits. But she kept the ball low and induced 12 ground ball outs.

“Our defense was dynamite,” Canton coach Doug Clement said. “She’s slower and New Britain is used to faster pitchers. She kept the ball low.”

Canton’s best chance came in the seventh when they loaded the bases. But Hurricane hurler Kelsey Newberg was able to work out of the jam. She struck out 15. In April, she struck out 16 in a 10-3 victory over the Warriors.

New Britain (10-10) won the game in the ninth when Caldwell gave up two singles and her first walk of the game to load the bases. Felicia Leone had the game-winning hit.

Mo Gauthier missed Saturday’s game against Ellington in the semifinals of the NCCC Tournament. Unfortunately, Ellington feasted on Caldwell’s pitching, scoring three runs in the first inning and two more in the second of a 12-0 victory.

Ellington hurler Morgan McPartland allowed just four hits and struck out four. She had no walks. Emily Savino had a two-RBI single and three hits for the Knights. Parente was 2-for-3 for Canton while senior catcher Jess Schroeder skipped her Senior Picnic and added a double for the Warriors.

In the other NCCC semifinal, Suffield rallied for a 2-0 win over Somers. Moskwa allowed just three hits, struck out five and didn’t allow a walk. Again, Suffield struck early. Alyssa Wagner tripled in the first inning and scored on a wild pitch. In the third, Muscarella doubled and scored on an error.

In the NCCC final, Suffield rolled to an 10-0 win over Ellington.

Marathon week
Mon. May 21: Canton 1, Windsor Locks 0
RBI single from Steph Gauthier in third
Tues. May 22: Canton 16, Bolton 1
Melissa Parente with a double and triple
Wed. May 23: Canton 6, East Windsor 2
Two homers from Parente and Mo Gauthier in 6th break open one-run game
Thurs. May 24: Suffield 2, Canton 0
Wildcats clinch share of league title with Ellington with victory
Fri. May 26: Canton 9, Granby 8 (9)

Canton blows 6-0 lead, Granby ties with 6 in fourth and takes 8-6 lead in 9th. Canton rallies with 3 in 9th to win

2009 CIAC tournament
Monday, June 1,
Class S First round: Tourtellotte-Thompson (9-11) at Canton, 3:30 p.m.

Tuesday, June 2,

Class S, 2nd round: Tourtellote/Canton winner vs. Shepaug/Platt Tech winner, 3:30 p.m.

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 30 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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