CHESHIRE — Who saw this coming?
Softball rivals Southington and Cheshire collided in Ramland on Wednesday in a Top-10 non-conference meeting, with Southington coming out on top with a dominant 14-1 victory that ended via the mercy-rule after six innings.
Southington coach Davina Hernandez was shocked that the Blue Knights, ranked No. 2 in the GameTime CT state media poll and unbeaten at 8-0, dominated the way they did against the No. 8 Rams (8-3).
“I told (Cheshire) coach (Kristine) Drust the same thing,” Hernandez said “I never ever expected to have a mercy-rule game. I definitely didn’t expect that but, but I can say our discipline at the plate has really opened games for us against really good teams. It’s very difficult to get ahead in the count when the discipline isn’t there.”
Southington was led by shortstop Samantha Rogers, who went 4-for-4 and recorded five RBI, including two on a home run to open the game in the first inning.
“Obviously. Sam set the tone,” Hernandez said. “She’s been unstoppable at the plate and, defensively, as she made every play that came to her.”
“I feel I did really well,” said Rogers. “I came in wanting to be aggressive and I think I did just.”
Southington set the tone even before Rogers got to the plate. Lead hitter Ashlyn Desaulniers singled on the game’s first pitch. Two batters later, Desaulniers scored on an RBI double from Samantha Sullivan.
Rogers followed with her two-run homer to make it 3-0.
Cheshire speedster Grace Lurz got aboard in the bottom of half of the first on a bunt single. Sullivan, getting the start in the circle for Southington, recorded two strikeouts in the inning.
Southington temporarily cooled in the second, recording just one hit while Cheshire pitcher Karissa Spring recorded her second strikeout of the game.
Sullivan, meanwhile, earned her fourth strikeout of the game in the second, retiring the side in order.
Desaulniers jump-started the Blue Knights again in the third. She walked, stole second and ultimately scored on a single by Elyse Picard.
Rogers extended the Southington led to 6-0 with a two-run single later in the inning.
Cheshire still had no luck in sparking a run. Sullivan pitched a clean third and recorded two more strikeouts to run her total to six.
Southington continued its hot streak of hitting in the fourth. Sullivan drove home Desaulniers and Rogers, in her third at-bat, recorded her fifth RBI of the game with a single that plated Emily Moskal.
Southington led 8-0 and made it 9-0 in the fifth when Desaulniers singled to score Madelyn Napierski.
In the sixth, the Blue Knights would extend their lead to 14-0. Rogers started the inning off with a single and Dominique Gaudio walked. Lily Murphy, Napierski and Desaulniers followed with RBI singles.
Down 14-0, Cheshire avoided the shutout with a Jordan Chymbor home run in the bottom of the sixth. With Southington up by double digits, however, the game was over once the next three outs were in the books.
“I'm so proud of my team,” Sullivan said. “They all played great around me; they made the plays they needed to. We’ve been doing really great this season.”
Both team’s next game will be on the road Friday. Southington plays at South Windsor, Cheshire at Guilford.
“Our mindset is to play your opponent as if they are the best team we’re going to play, and with that mindset it allows us to come out strong and not take anyone for granted,” said Hernandez.