Three outs to do something special; three outs to be great.
That was Ridgefield High softball coach Lauren Greywacz’s message to her players before they took the field to resume their Class LL state tournament first-round game against host Greenwich on Thursday.
The Tigers trailed 12-10 with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning when play was suspended on Wednesday due to a thunderstorm. When the game resumed Thursday, 19th-seed Ridgefield rallied for three runs in the top of the seventh inning and held on to edge 14th-seed Greenwich, 13-12.
Ridgefield (13-9) will now board a bus for the third straight day and play third-seed West Haven in a second-round game Friday at West Haven High School.
“I told the team, the rest of the game doesn’t matter,” Greywacz said. “We came in forgetting about yesterday (Wednesday) and felt if we could win one inning, we could win this game. We had three outs to do something special.”
The Tigers had incentive to forget what happened Wednesday: Ridgefield squandered an 8-0 lead as Greenwich rallied to go ahead, 12-10. As exciting as the win was for Ridgefield, it was equally heartbreaking for Greenwich.
“This is a tough one to lose; it’s a tough ending,” said Greenwich coach Mary Beth Fratello, whose squad finished the season 13-9. “Yesterday (Wednesday) we had a lot of momentum and I felt if we could have continued to play we could have won. But it was tough for both teams to come back and play for one inning.”
Down to their last three outs in the top of the seventh, the Tigers began their rally with Alex Kinkead’s solo home run over the centerfield fence off Greenwich pitcher Sophia Prieto.
“The last game I was struggling a bit, so I knew I had to put it in play and I did and got a home run out of it,” Kinkead said.
With one out, catcher Claire Filaski doubled to left center and went to third on freshman Julia Clavi’s infield single. Skylar Arent followed by lining a double down the right-field line, scoring Filaski and Clavi and giving the Tigers a 13-12 lead.
“I knew I had to get a hit in that situation and put the ball in play,” said Arent, who also earned the win on the mound. “On a single, I knew two runs could score.”
Arent allowed a single in the bottom of the seventh but left the runner stranded, sealing the victory.
“I knew I had to throw strikes, because the defense behind me had my back,” Arent said.
In addition to getting the win, Arent went 3-for-5 with a game-high six RBIs. Alyssa DeStefano was 3-for-4 with an RBI for the Tigers, and Lauren Bayer had two hits and two RBIs.
Ridgefield took what seemed to be a commanding lead through the first few innings on Wednesday. DeStefano knocked in a run with a double off Prieto and Arent delivered a two-run single in the first inning. Leadoff hitter Sabrina Grizzaffi and Clavi each contributed RBI singles in the second inning, while Arent knocked in a pair of runs, putting the Tigers ahead 7-0.
Down 8-0 in the third inning, Greenwich struck for four runs off DeStefano, who started for the Tigers. Olivia McClammy keyed the inning with a two-run homer.
After Ridgefield added an unearned run in the top of the fourth, McClammy launched a three-run homer in the bottom of the inning to get the Cards within 9-7. Arent relieved DeStefano, but Greenwich added two runs to tie the score.
In the bottom of the fifth, Greenwich went ahead, 12-9, on a bases-loaded walk and a two-run single.
Ridgefield got one run back before the game was halted due to thunderstorms with Greenwich ahead 12-10.
But when play resumed Thursday, it was the Tigers who rallied.
“This team is a ton of fun to watch,” said Greywacz. “We are never out of it. They believe in themselves and I believe in them.”