Planet Pizza wins women’s softball title

Planet Pizza celebrates after winning the championship in the Ridgefield Women’s Softball Association.

Planet Pizza celebrates after winning the championship in the Ridgefield Women’s Softball Association.

Ridgefield Women's Softball Association / Contributed photo

Even though Planet Pizza has long been one of the top teams in the Ridgefield Women’s Softball Association, a championship proved elusive.

“We are usually right there, competing for a title but falling short,” said Alex Curry, the team’s player-manager. “It’s been frustrating.”

Much of that frustration washed away last Friday night. Planet Pizza scored a run in the top of the sixth inning and held on to beat defending champion Drain Surgeon, 6-5, in the title game at the old high school.

The loss ended a five-year championship run for Drain Surgeon’s core group of players, who also won titles while playing for Westford Real Estate Management (2014-16) and KickFit (2017).

“They are always tough,” said Curry about Drain Surgeon’s players. “It takes a lot to beat them.”

After finishing the regular season in first place, Drain Surgeon looked headed for another title. The team won all its post-season games to advance to the finals of the double-elimination playoff format.

Planet Pizza took a more circuitous route, dropping an early playoff game to the Ancient Mariner and falling to the losers’ bracket. Planet Pizza avenged that defeat with a victory over the Ancient Mariner in the losers’ bracket finals, earning a berth in the championship series.

In most years, Planet Pizza would have needed two triumphs over Drain Surgeon in the finals to win the title. But when Drain Surgeon was unable to get enough players for last Tuesday’s game, the teams agreed to meet for the winner-take-all championship on Friday.

“The game on Tuesday was treated as a [Drain Surgeon] forfeit,” said Curry. “That put all the pressure on Friday’s game.”

Drain Surgeon took a quick 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning on Kristy Swanson’s two-run homer.

Planet Pizza cut its deficit in half in the top of the second when Nina Yacovacci blasted a solo homer, but Drain Surgeon added two runs in the bottom of the third to go ahead 4-1.

“It didn’t look good at that point,” said Curry. “I think we were all a little worried.”

But with one out in the top of the fourth, Planet Pizza began a four-run rally. Four consecutive singles by Kim Frattura, Shelby Rotunda, Yacovacci (RBI), and Caitlin Ornousky (RBI) cut Drain Surgeon’s lead to 4-3. After a flyout, Caryn Whelan and Katie Koning came through with RBI singles to put Planet Pizza in front, 5-4.

Drain Surgeon tied the game with a run in the bottom of the fifth, but Planet Pizza regained the lead in the top of the sixth. Yacovacci and Ornousky singled, and Whalen followed with an RBI single to make it 6-5.

Rotunda retired Drain Surgeon in order in the bottom of the sixth and got the first two batters in the bottom of the seventh. But two straight hits put the tying run on third base and the winning run on third.

“I thought ‘here we go again,’ ” said Curry. “One more hit and the game might have been over.”

But Rotunda got the next batter to loft a fly ball to left-center field that Ornousky caught for the final out, securing Planet Pizza’s championship.

“It was a long time coming but it felt great,” said Curry. “We’ve had the same core group of players, so it was nice to finally win a title.”

Notes: Planet Pizza’s roster also included Lauren Hurd, Jean Dohan, Abby Bay, Leslie Vuilleumier, and Christina Wolf.

Planet Pizza had finished third in the regular season behind Drain Surgeon and the Ancient Mariner.