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Granby makes things happen to win NCCC Tournament for fifth time in eight years

Granby catcher Abby Kidd, left, and pitcher Anna-Maria Groskritz celebrate after winning the NCCC softball tournament in Hartford on Thursday.

HARTFORD, May 23 – The Granby Memorial softball team wanted to make things happen in Thursday’s NCCC Tournament.

The Bears successfully executed a suicide squeeze bunt in the first inning to take a one-run lead. In the second inning, center fielder MacKenzie Dowd singled, stole second base, stole third base and scampered home on a throwing error.

And on the mound, pitcher Anna Marie Groskritz was dominant, giving up just three hits and striking out 16 batters to lead Granby to a 2-0 win in the NCCC Tournament final. The Bears have played in the last four NCCC Tournament championship games and have won three times.

In the span of six hours, Granby (16-6) beat the league co-champions – Ellington and Coventry – to win the tournament. Ellington and Coventry shared the NCCC title with 15-1 records in the league. The Bears, behind 11 strikeouts from reliever Abby Kidd, beat Coventry in the semifinals, 3-2.

“In good games like this, it comes down to situational (softball) and getting things done and we did that well,” Granby Memorial head coach Brian McDermott said.

Granby second baseman Alexis Klein tags out Ellington’s Skylar Kubas, who was trying to steal second base. Klein took the throw from catcher Abby Kidd.

The Bears got to work early. With one out in the first inning, Groskritz ripped a single to right field that skipped behind the outfielder. Groskritz raced to third base. She scored when shortstop Abby Kidd laid down a successful bunt down the first base line as Groskritz raced home with a suicide squeeze bunt for a 1-0 lead.

In the second inning, Dowd got her bat on a hard pitch from Ellington hurler Megan Beebe. The ball dribbled in front of the plate and Dowd took off, beating the throw to the bag for a single.

Dowd stole second base. With two outs, she stole third base and when the throw from Ellington catcher Emma Kloter went into left field and Dowd scampered home to give Granby a 2-0 lead.

“She ran that perfectly,” McDermott said. “We called a delayed steal. They were napping a bit and we got the run.”

Granby made plays defensively, too. In the bottom of the second, Ellington got leadoff runner Lois Hoffman aboard with a walk. But when Hoffman tried to steal second base, catcher Abby Kidd threw her out at second base.

Granby pitcher Anna-Marie Groskritz  struck out 16 to lead Granby to the NCCC Tournament title Thursday at Trinity College.

Ellington (18-4) had opportunities but couldn’t convert. Thanks to an error and a single, the Purple Knights had runners on first and second base with two outs in the third inning but Groskritz got the strikeout to end the inning.

Ellington had the leadoff runner on the fifth inning only to see Groskritz strike out the next three batters. Groskritz retired the last nine batters for the game for the Knights.

In the semifinals, Ellington beat East Granby, 2-0 with nine hits. Ellington pitcher Megan Beebe was 3-for-4 while catcher Emma Kloter was 2-for-3. Beebe limited the Crusaders to just two hits.

Groskritz started the semifinal game against Coventry but McDermott put in Abby Kidd on the mound in the first inning. Kidd struck out 11 and scattered seven hits to earn the win. Madison Kidd was 2-for-4 with the Bears while Abby Kidd had a double and Groskritz had a triple.

Championship
Granby 2, Ellington 0
At Hartford (Trinity College)
Granby                               110  000  0  — 2-6-1
Ellington                             000  000  0  — 0-3-4
Anna Marie Groskritz and Madison Kidd; Megan Beebe and Emma Kloter; WP: Groskritz, LP: Beebe; 3B: Groskritz (G)

The Granby Memorial softball team won the NCCC Tournament for the third time since 2015.

Semifinals
Ellington 2, East Granby 0
At Hartford (Trinity College)
East Granby                      000  000  0  — 0-2-2
Ellington                             200  000  x  — 2-9-1

Granby 3, Coventry 2
At Hartford (Trinity College)
Granby                               000  003  0  — 3-6-0
Coventry                           100  001  0  — 2-4-0
Anna Marie Groskritz, Abby Kidd (1) and Madison Kidd; Jackie Bates and Breanna Darrey; WP: A. Kidd; LP: Bates; 2B: Abby Kidd (G), J. Hassett (Cov); 3B: Groskritz (G)

2019 NCCC Standings

Team NCCC Overall
x-Coventry 15-1 18-2
x-Ellington 15-1 17-3
y-Granby 13-3 14-6
Somers 11-5 14-6
East Granby 11-5 13-6
Stafford 12-7
Rockville 8-8 11-9
Windsor Locks 11-9
East Windsor 5-11 8-12
Canton 5-11 5-15
Bolton 4-12 4-16
HMTCA 2-14 5-15
Stafford 2-14 2-15
SMSA 0-16 0-20

x-Shared league championship
y-won league tournament

Recent NCCC Tournament championship games
2019: Granby 2, Ellington 0
2018: Granby 9, Ellington 1
2017: rained out
2016: East Granby 2, Granby 0
2015: Granby 26, Suffield 0 (5)
2014: Suffield 17, Ellington 6
2013: rained out
2012: Granby 9, Suffield 2
2011: Suffield 12, Ellington 4
2010: Ellington 6, Somers 5
2009: Suffield 10, Ellington 0

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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