Canton softball team picks up first two victories of the season

Canton third baseman Alexa Szczepanski had the only two hits for the Warriors in a NCCC loss to Coventry on Saturday morning.

CANTON – Kim Church is the new softball coach at Canton High this spring. The Warriors are trying to rebound from a rough 2016 campaign when they won just three of 20 games – the fewest in a single season in decades.

After 12 losses to begin the season, the Warriors won two consecutive games this week. Canton beat Goodwin Tech-New Britain on Thursday, 16-0 in five innings with junior pitcher Baily Edgren allowing just one hit.

On Friday, Canton beat Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy (HMTCA) by a score of 18-8. Edgren again picked up the win on the mound, allowing just five hits. She helped lead Canton’s 17-hit attack going 4-for-5 with four RBI. Teammate Ainsley Hill was 3-for-4 with three RBI and three runs scored.

On Saturday in an early-morning contest to avoid the predicted rain for the afternoon, Coventry (11-4) had 16 hits in a 18-0 win over the Warriors

Canton (2-13, 0-12 NCCC) has just two seniors and four juniors on the squad. “I don’t like calling this a “rebuilding” year because very season is a learning experience and a growth opportunity,” said Church, who played softball at Farmington High in her scholastic career and in college at Eastern Connecticut State University.

“We have a lot of freshmen so I really want to focus on bringing them along quickly so they can be ready to lead this program for the next four years,” Church said. “Our returning players have experience and the skills to lead by example and will be the athletes that hold the team together.”

Shortstop Alexa Szczepanski and Brooke Dotson are the two lone seniors on the Warriors. Edgren is one of the juniors on the team. Hill, a sophomore third baseman, is one of the promising youngsters on the squad.

Canton freshman Ciara Cebollero (2) bears down in Saturday’s NCCC game against Coventry at the high school.

Canton has been handcuffed by some good pitching this season. Simsbury pitcher Brooke Witkin fanned 13 batters in a 10-0 season opening win. In a 10-1 loss to Somers, the Warriors had just two hits. In two games against Granby, the Warriors have managed just 14 hits.

On Saturday against Coventry, Canton hitters struck out 13 times against freshman pitcher Jacqueline Bates. Szczepanski had Canton’s lone two hits in the contest with singles in the fourth and seventh inning. Coventry (11-4) had 16 hits in the game and was led by catcher Kelsie LaHouse, who was 4-for-5 with a triple and a home run. Bates and Alexa Caruso each had triples for the Patriots.

The Warriors did have a season-high 17 hits on Friday in their win over HTMCA. Canton had 11 hits and scored 10 runs in a 23-10 loss to Gilbert and had 11 hits in an 18-14 loss to SMSA in April.

Canton shortstop Ella Strand waits for the ball as Coventry’s Alexa Caruso (8) steals second base in Saturday’s NCCC game in Canton.

Canton has a busy week ahead. They will play four straight road games at East Windsor (Monday, May 15), at East Granby (May 16), at Ellington (May 17) and at Suffield (May 18) before finishing the season at home on May 22 against Bolton.

NOTES: Church replaced Charley Batan, who coached for five seasons. Canton had winning records in three of the five seasons and qualified for the Class S tournament four times. In his first season, Batan (59-49) led the Warriors to the Class S semifinals where they lost to St. Bernard and finished with a 17-7 record. In 2013, Canton advanced to the Class S quarterfinals before being eliminated by Thomaston.

Coventry 18, Canton 0
At Canton
Coventry (11-4)                 240  121  8 – 18-16-0
Canton (2-13)                    000  000  0 – 0-2-7
Jacqueline Bates and Kelsie LaHouse; Ciara Cebollero and Audra Mitchell; WP: Bates; LP: Cebollero; 2B: Madison Francis (Cov), Margaret Ziko (Cov) 2, Shea Vignone (Cov), Julia Hassett (Cov); 3B: Bates (Cov), LaHouse (Cov), Alexa Caruso (Cov); HR: LaHouse (Cov)

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