STRATFORD, June 5 – The Canton High girls softball team feasted on errors and mistakes committed by its opponents in the CIAC Class S tournament. In Canton’s opening tournament game, Old Saybrook committed five errors in the fifth and sixth inning and gave up five unearned runs in a 5-3 loss to the Warriors.
Canton shortstop Katherine Winsor
Windham Tech committed three errors and gave up three unearned runs in a 10-1 defeat. And in the quarterfinals, Wheeler committed four crucial errors, walked a pair of batters and allowed eight unearned runs in a 9-4 loss.
What was Canton’s secret? Put the ball in play and solid defense of its own.
However, St. Bernard took advantage of four Canton errors and with some timely hitting, the Saints eliminated the Warriors (17-7) with an 8-0 victory at Deluca Field.
Despite the loss, it was an outstanding year for the Warriors, who finished 14-5 in the regular season and qualified for the NCCC Tournament. Canton had 27 hits in their first three tournament games.
“They’ve been hitting machines,” Canton coach Charley Batan said. “Defensively, they’ve been as solid as they can be. The kids have fought all year. They found themselves this year and almost went the whole way.”
No. 8 Canton gutted out its opening game win over No. 25 Old Saybrook with five runs in the fifth and sixth innings. The Warriors committed six errors in the game but helped their own cause with three double plays.
“We beat teams that were banking on beating us,” Batan said. “We were underdogs against most teams we played (in the tournament).”
Trailing 3-0 in the fifth inning, Canton’s Christina Cardwell and Stephanie Gauthier got on base thanks to errors. They scored on Brittany King’s two-out, two-RBI double to cut the lead to one, 3-2.
Centerfielder Stephanie Gauthier grabs a fly ball in front of teammate Liz Mutch.
In the sixth, Amber Batan reached on an error, Katherine Winsor walked and Olivia Bonini reached on an error to load the bases. Cardwell’s two-RBI single gave Canton its first lead and the Warriors extended the lead to two on a sacrifice fly from Kiersten Kronschnabel.
The Rams put two runners on with one out but pitcher Morgan Scarfuri got the final two batters to fly out to secure the win. Scarfuri allowed just three hits, four walks and struck out nine.
In a win over Windham Tech, Cardwell struck out 10 and scattered four hits. Leigh Fitzgerald had three hits while Rose Minichiello had an RBI triple.
In the quarterfinals against No. 16 Wheeler, Canton took a 4-0 lead in the first inning before the visitors rallied with three runs in the fifth inning and a run in the sixth to tie the game at 4-4. Wheeler had a runner at third with one out in the sixth but Cardwell coaxed two fly balls from the Bears to end the threat.
Two RBI singles from Cardwell and King in the sixth helped the Warriors take control. Cardwell struck out eight and scattered nine hits.
In the semifinals, No. 20 St. Bernard took a 2-0 lead on a pair of unearned runs in the fourth inning. A crucial error was a fly ball deflecting off the glove of a Canton outfielder.
Canton threatened in the bottom of the fourth inning, loading the bases. With one out, King singled down the third base line. With two outs, Kronschnabel was hit by a pitch. Winsor loaded the bases by beating out an infield single.
But Saints pitcher Rivkah Berkman got Bonini to ground out to third to end the threat. “I was a little shaken up with the bases loaded and knew I had to get that out,” Berkman said. “I just kept focused and I did it.”
St. Bernard added three runs in the fifth for a 5-0 lead thanks to two hits and two Canton errors. Scarfuri also hit a batter and two balls got behind Bonini at catcher.
“We were locked in,” St. Bernard coach Jeff Mauri said. “We didn’t swing at a bad pitch all game and Morgan (Scarfuri) throws hard. We’re confident, comfortable and relaxed.”
Senior outfielder Liz Mutch had two of Canton’s six hits against the Saints.
Canton, which won 11 of its last 12 games and eight straight at one point, finished with 17 wins for just the second time in the last 20 years. They had 18 wins when they won the Class S title in 2009.
“They did a great job this year,” Charley Batan said. “It wasn’t easy to get here. I’m proud of those kids. They have a lot of class.”
2012 CIAC tournament
Canton 5, Old Saybrook 3
Old Saybrook 002 100 0 – 3-2-6
Canton (15-6) 000 023 x – 5-6-6
Trabucci and MacLeod; Monica Scarfuri and Olivia Bonini; 2B: Brittany King (C), Trabucci (OS); WP: Scarfuri; LP — Trabucci
Canton 10, Windham Tech 1
Windham Tech 000 100 0 – -1-4-4
Canton (16-6) 304 111 x – 10-12-2
S. Meirde and M. Pellerin; Christina Cardwell and Olivia Bonini; 2B: Letson (WT); 3B: Rose Minichello (C), Shirshack (WT); WP: Cardwell; LP: Meirde
Canton 9, Wheeler 4
Wheeler 000 031 0 – 4-9-3
Canton (17-6) 400 005 x – 9-9-1
S. Cirranti and K. Banks; Christina Cardwell and Olivia Bonini; 2B: Cardwell (C), Brittany King (C), K. Collins (W); 3B: K. Banks (W); WP: Cardwell; LP: Cirranti
St. Bernard 8, Canton 0
St. Bernard 000 231 2 – 8-10-0
Canton (17-7) 000 000 0 – 0-6-4
Christina Cardwell, Monica Scarfuri (5) and Olivia Bonini; Rivkah Berkman and Shoshana Berkman; 2B: Buscetto (S); WP – R. Berkman; LP – Cardwell