Masuk Panthers Softball took on the Fairfield Ludlowe Falcons in their home opener after a win against Fairfield Warde. Last season, the Falcons got the best of the Panthers in their first game, coming out with a 2-0 win.
Ludlowe got out to a quick start with a single-run home run struck into left field. Just a few pitches into the game the Falcons were up 1-0. Masuk finished off with some good fielding, no Falcons got on base after the home run. On offense the Panthers could not get any runners on base, the first inning finished with a groundout to first followed by two strikeouts.
Ludlowe picked up the second inning with two hits and a walk leading to the bases being loaded. But the Falcons were not able to capitalize, and good pitching from Masuk’s Julia Bacoulis along with ready fielders helped the Panthers hold off any runs. The Panthers’ struggles at the plate followed into the second inning, with no runners getting on base. The second inning came to a close with a pop-out in right field.
The Falcons began the third inning with a strikeout followed by a walk. The first stolen base of the game came from the Falcons stealing from first to second during a sloppy play for the Panthers. Immediately after the Falcons hit a pop fly dropping in right-center field that advanced the runner on second home. During the play the Panthers were able to get an out on second, but Ludlowe led 2-0. The top of the third ended in a pop-out.
The Panthers were able to get rolling next at bat with Alyssa Castillo getting a double, who advanced to third in exchange for an out next at bat with a Masuk bunt. Another bunt at the next at bat would advance Castillo home, in exchange for another out. After a Natalie Lieto double, Ella Bunovsky would pop-out. The third inning ended 2-1 Ludlowe.
In the fourth inning the Falcons got a walk and a pair of grounders to get another bases loaded with two outs. Again, the Falcons were not able to take advantage of the opportunity with a pop-out in center field. The only offense for Masuk in the fourth was an Izzy Viglione double. Ludlowe got their outs in a strikeout, a bunt grounded out, and a line drive caught in left field.
In the top of the 5th Ludlowe was three batters out with one strikeout and two caught pop flys. The inning for Masuks batters was the same, consisting of a strikeout and two caught pop flys. There was little offense in the sixth inning as well, and the score was still 2-1 Ludlowe going into the seventh inning.
The Falcons started off the inning with a ground ball single. After a pop fly bunt caught just shy of home plate for Masuks first out, the Falcons hit a line drive single into left field. With the lead and two runners on base, Ludlowe looked to extend their lead heading into their last inning. But a pop fly caught at second followed by a strikeout would close out the top of the inning.
Needing 1 more run to tie, and already having 1 out Alyssa Castillo struck a ground ball to right field for a single. A following walk would put Masuk runners on first and second base. After a strikeout the next at bat, Masuk was down 1 point with 2 outs, needing a big play. Natalie Lieto hit a hard grounder down the third base line that was stopped with a diving effort from the Ludlowe third basemen. The hit resulted in a single, and bases were loaded with Ella Bunovsky up to bat. The game would end on a grounder to second base and a tag out.
“I think we can improve on capitalization at the plate when runners are in scoring position,” says Senior First Basemen Ella Bunovsky. “Also adjusting to the pitchers better in the first few innings so we can score earlier.”
The Falcons held off Masuk for a 2-1 victory. The Panthers next game is April 10 vs. Kolbe Cathedral.