The Shelton High softball team erupted for a three-run rally and went on to upend Branford High in the season opener by a 4-2 margin last Thursday.
Kaysee Talcik went the distance in the pitchers circle, surrendering just four hits and striking out 13 to earn the win.
Senior co-captain Kendall Hansen had a double, a triple and drove in two runs to pace the offensive attack. Senior co-captain Marisa D’Angelo added two sacrifice bunts and Gina Ciambriello scored two runs for the Gaelettes.
“We have a fairly young team with only two seniors out there,” Shelton head coach Joann Desrochers said. “We have a good mix of younger players and they made some really big plays in the field that kept us in the game.”
Branford got on top early when Cynthia Lerman reached base on a dropped third strike in the first inning. A stolen base, a wild pitch and a passed ball gave the Hornets a 1-0 advantage, before Talcik went on to strike out the side.
Seven of the first 10 Shelton batters went down on strikes, as Branford pitcher Julia Rosenberg had the Gaelettes in check.
The Hornets couldn’t get anything going either with two defensive plays by Shelton keeping them off the board.
Talcik speared a line shot back to the mound, firing over to first baseman Rebecca Wicek for an inning-ending double play in the third.
With two outs in the top of the fourth, Branford was at it again only to have Shelton left fielder Carolyn Taylor field a base hit and fire a strike to Hansen at third base to retire the side.
Those defensive gems fueled the fire and the Gaelettes came up swinging in the bottom of the fourth.
Ciambriello ripped a single down the left field line for the first Shelton hit of the game. Hansen followed by crushing a pitch in the gap for a stand-up triple to tie the game at 1.
Talcik and Lily Rivera drew walks to load the bases with no out, only to have Rosenberg kick the door closed by striking out the next three batters.
Shelton came to bat in the bottom of the fifth looking for more and came up with the timely hits to get the job done.
Sam Woods led off with a bunt single and advanced to second on a sacrifice from D’Angelo.
Ciambriello worked out a walk and Hansen blasted a run-scoring double to left. Talcik drew a base on balls to load the bases and Rivera drove in a run on a sacrifice fly.
Taylor ended the uprising with an RBI single up the middle to hand Shelton a 4-1 advantage.
“It was only a matter of time before we started to put together some hits,” said Hansen. “I struck out my first time up, so I was just looking for a pitch to drive. I got good contact my next two times up and was fortunate enough to drive in some runs.
“Kaycee pitched a great game and we got behind her and made some tough plays to help her out.
“If we play together as team we can be very competitive this season.”
Branford came back in the top of the sixth to close the gap. Lerman and Nicole Carrano reached base on bunt singles, before Talcik turned it up a notch with two strikeouts in between a come backer to the circle that chased home a run.
Shelton tried to add another insurance run in the sixth, when Mackenzie Bures blooped a single over second base.
Alexis Calhoun popped up to first and Bures advanced to third on the catcher’s throwing error. Rosenberg escaped the jam and Branford went into the top of the seventh trailing 4-2.
There would be no late game rally, as Talcik went on to strike out the side to give Shelton victory.
The Gaelettes lost to Cheshire High (10-0) and West Haven (7-2) and are back in action today when North Haven visits at 4.