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Bristol softball stops Central Valley to win Junior Division state title

Central Valley pitcher Reese Grecula fires a pitch in Friday night’s Junior Division championship game in Orange. Bristol won the game, 11-1.

ORANGE, July 15, 2022 –  Gia Hatcher had a single, triple and two RBI while her teammate Bella Arborio scattered five hits and struck out eight to lead the Bristol girls softball team to the Little League Junior Division championship with an 11-1 win over Central Valley Friday night in Orange.

Bristol gave up just four runs in three games to win the state championship and earn a spot in next week’s Eastern Regional Junior Division (ages 13-14) championship tournament in Orange.

Central Valley, which is made up of eight players from Canton and three from the Burlington/Harwinton league, finished the season with a 3-2 record. Central Valley won their first District 6 title at the Junior Division level.

“It was an amazing journey for this group,” Central Valley manager Scott Mossey said. “There were a lot of first-time players. For this program, it was a real growth experience. We had never made it through the district before so to get through the sectional and into the state final was a really good experience, one they will take with them for a long time.”

In the state tournament, Central Valley beat Watertown/Oakville in their first tournament game last week, 6-5. In their first meeting of the tournament, Bristol beat Central Valley, 13-2.

Central Valley shortstop Madison McGowan tries to get the ball as Bristol’s Bella Arborio steals second base in Friday’s Junior Division title game in Orange.

Walks hurt Central Valley throughout Friday’s game with Bristol, who kept the pressure on the Central Valley defense with numerous stolen bases.

Hatcher had a RBI single in the first inning as Bristol grabbed an early 2-0 lead. Another three runs in the second inning increased the lead to 5-0.

Hatcher, who was 2-for-2 on the day with a pair of RBI, had a RBI triple in the fifth inning. Arborio had a two run double for the winners in the fifth inning.

Central Valley pushed a run across the plate in the fifth inning. Regan Grecula led off the inning with a single. With one out, Grecula moved to second base on a single from Sophia Mazza. After scrambling to third base on a passed ball, Grecula scored on a RBI ground ball out by Madeline Turner.

Grecula was 2-for-3 for Central Valley with Chloe Dismukes also getting a single in the contest.

Bristol captured their first Junior Division state championship since 2018.

Bristol won their first Junior Division state title since 2017 with a 11-1 win over Central Valley.

Bristol 11, Central Valley 1 (5)
At Orange

Bristol (3-0)                        232  13  — 11-7-1
Central Valley (3-2)           000  01  — 1-5-2
Bella Arborio and Myah Steiner; Reese Grecula, Sophia Mazza (5) and Regan Grecula; WP: Arborio; LP: Reese Grecula; 2B: none; 3B: Gia Hatcher (B); HR: none

Junior Softball (ages 13-14)
State tournament
At Bristol (Rockwell Park)
Tuesday, July 5
Center Valley-Canton (D6) 6, Watertown/Oakville (D3) 5
Wednesday, July 6
Bristol (D5) 13, Center Valley 2
Friday, July 8
Bristol 11, Watertown/Oakville 1
Friday, July 15
At Orange
 Bristol 11, Central Valley 1 (5)

Recent Junior Division state champions
2021: Fairfield 8, Bristol 5
2020: Tournament cancelled, COVID-19
2019: Fairfield 12, Groton/Mystic 3
2018: Bristol 6, Fairfield 1
2017: Two teams advance to Eastern Regional (Coginchaug, Fairfield)
2016: Fairfield 2, Ledyard 0
2015: Fairfield and Pawcatuck share title
2014: Seymour 11-7, Pawcatuck 0-2, Seymour wins series, 2-0
2013: Mystic/Groton 4-12, Black Rock 3-6, Mystic/Groton wins series, 2-0
2012: Mystic 12-8, Fairfield 2-2, Mystic wins series, 2-0
2011: Black Rock 2-1, Waterford 1-0, Black Rock wins series, 2-0
2010: Waterford 8-11, Black Rock 0-3, Waterford wins series, 2-0
2009: Waterford 11-11, Bristol 0-1, Waterford wins series, 2-0
2008: Waterford 10-1-2, Oxford 3-2-0, Waterford wins series, 2-1

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 40 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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