Ridgefield softball team beats Warde, 1-0, in nine innings

When the Ridgefield High softball team began the season by losing seven of its first nine games, the odds of qualifying for the conference playoffs were tiny enough to be seen only under a microscope.

Eleven games later, the Tigers are not only in the playoffs but also among the state's hottest teams.

A 1-0, nine-inning victory over Fairfield Warde in the regular-season finale Wednesday was Ridgefield's fifth-straight win and 10th in the last 11 games. The only loss during the second half of the season was to unbeaten St. Joseph, the state's top-ranked team.

Ridgefield (12-8 overall, 12-4 FCIAC) will look to keep rolling when it plays Stamford in an FCIAC quarterfinal game Friday at 4 p.m. at Stamford High School. The Tigers are seeded fifth and Stamford is fourth in the eight-team conference field.

The lone run in Wednesday's game with Warde (12-5, 11-5 FCIAC) came in the bottom of the ninth inning. With two outs, Makenna Skrobar drilled a pitch past first base and down the right-field line to score Julia Clavi and give Ridgefield the walk-off win. Clavi had opened the inning with a single and moved to second on a groundout.

"It was one of the best games our girls have played all year," Ridgefield head coach Lauren Greywacz said. "Solid defense, solid pitching ...  and we scored the run when we finally had to."

Warde, which beat the Tigers, 3-2, earlier this season, had a chance to break the scoreless tie in the top of the eighth, as Julia Mancini singled and stole second and third. But Ridgefield pitcher Alyssa DeStefano got a groundout, a strikeout, and a flyout to end the threat.

Ridgefield's best scoring chance during the first seven innings came in the bottom of the third. Lauren Bayer and Serena Sheth both singled but were left stranded on the bases.

Notes: Bayer, the Tigers' only 12th grader, was honored at the Senior Night contest.

"Lauren is a great captain," Greywacz said. "The girls look up to her; she's a leader on the field. She gets the girls excited when they are flat."

"I could not be more proud of our team," Bayer said after Wednesday's game. "We went into the week wanting to win this and [we] got it."