Joann Desrochers could have thought of at least a dozen different ways to start the season other than a road game against the defending Class L semifinalists on a cold and blustery day more suited for throwing snowballs.
But that was the predicament facing the head coach of the Shelton softball team, which got off to a rough start with a 16-0 setback against Lauralton Hall Wednesday afternoon in the season-opener for both teams.
Lauralton Hall was playing its first game as a member of the SCC after moving over from the South-West Conference, and boy did the Crusaders impress.
Standout senior center fielder Alexa Dawid went 4-for-5 with three triples, four RBIs and five runs scored as the Crusaders pounded out 18 hits against junior pitcher Alexis Calhoun. Seven of Lauralton’s hits went for extra bases, including a home run by Jackie Brewster (3-for-4, four RBIs) in the third. Lauralton junior Ireland Miessau had no problems with the cold weather, allowing just two hits and one walk with 14 strikeouts.
“I was really impressed with their pitcher,” Desrochers said. “She got stronger as the game went along.”
Shelton is ushering two new pitchers after last year’s starter, Kaysee Talcik, decided not to return to the team.
Gina Ciambriello will share time on the mound with Calhoun, who allowed one run on back-to-back triples by Dawid and Brewster in the first inning and appeared as if she would get out of a no-out, bases-loaded jam before an infield error with two outs allowed four unearned runs to score.
“We’re just going to gut it out and see what happens,” Desrochers said. “I thought we did well over the first few innings but we made that costly error that let in (four) runs.”
Sophomore third baseman Mackenzie Bures got the first hit off the hard-throwing Miessau with one out in the top of the first and went to second on a passed ball. But Miessau, filling in for Lauralton’s injured ace Haley Congdon, struck out the next two batters in order to get out of the inning.
Sophomore Lillian Rivera walked with two outs in the second and Ciambriello singled to right in the fourth for Shelton’s only other hit.
Despite the lopsided outcome, Desrochers is still confident her team can have a successful season.
“I think we can qualify for the states this year,” she said.