Shelton High’s softball team clinched a state playoff berth with a 13-0, five-inning mercy-rule blanking of visiting Hamden on Friday afternoon.
The Gaelettes poured it on with seven runs in the first inning and, by the end of two innings had put 11 runs on the board.
That matched their total from an 11-10 win over the Green Dragons on April 20.
Shelton, which finished a busy stretch of five games in as many days, improved to 8-9 overall and Hamden fell to 7-10.
Sara Rivera tossed the shutout and struck out four batters. Rivera allowed two hits, walked one, and hit a batter.
“She did a good job,” said Shelton coach Jo Ann Desrochers, adding that the Gaelettes checked an item off the top of their to-do list. “That’s our main goal every year is to qualify for the state tournament.”
Rivera allowed no more than one runner to reach base in each of the first four innings and pitched around a leadoff hit batsman and two-out walk behind two strikeouts.
“I felt pretty confident,” said Rivera, adding that it was nice to get the early run support.
Shelton’s offense was aided by four walks and two hit batsmen in the opening inning.
Mackenzie Bures, Lillian Rivera and Sara Rivera had singles.
For the game, Lillian Rivera had three hits and Sara Rivera and Bures each had two.
Byrana Heuser and Kayla Resto also had hits for the Gaelettes.
Maggie Carlucci had two of Shelton’s walks and one of the team’s five stolen bases.
Bures swiped two bases, and Resto and Lillian Rivera each stole a bag.
Shelton had a similarly-large lead against Hamden when the teams met on April 20. The Gaelettes had to hang on and Desrochers reminded her squad of that game when her players jumped out to a sizeable early cushion in the rematch.
“I said to them ‘Don’t get too confident about it because you remember what happened the last time,’” she said. “And they did. They played right until the very end.”
With road games at Sacred Heart Academy, Career Magnet and Guilford remaining before states, Desroschers said the goal is to bolster its playoff seeding.