Gaelettes outdueled by Westies

The Shelton softball team came into the season riding a streak of four straight state tournament appearances. Head coach Joann Desrochers knew she was in for a rebuilding year after graduating seven starters including All-Housatonic Division players Emily Komornik and Brittany Lampert.

The Gaelettes didn’t come into the season empty handed, returning All-Housatonic Division shortstop Rachel Cataudella and sophomore pitcher Kaycee Talcik.

Shelton dropped the season opener last Wednesday, 7-2 to Sacred Heart Academy, but bounced back with a 23-0 win over Wilbur Cross on Thursday with Talcik spinning a one-hitter.

On Saturday against West Haven, the Gaelettes showed just how competitive they will be as they work the new pieces into the lineup. Talcik threw a two-hitter but was edged out in a pitcher’s duel,  as Camdyn Morgillo threw a two-hitter with 10 strikeouts as West Haven escaped with a 1-0 win.

“We have a real young team out there,” said Desrochers. “Shelton didn’t have a JV team last year and we lost seven starters.

“A lot of these players are new to the position. Rachel is back at shortstop, Kaycee pitched for us last year and Kendall Hansen was our right fielder, now she is at third base.

“But we just didn’t hit the ball today the way we are capable of. But I’m encouraged by the way we hung in there and had a chance at the end of the game.”

What kept Shelton in the game was a rock solid infield that came up with all the plays they had to. The infield recorded 17 of the 21 outs in the game — making only one error when Cataudella made a throw from her knees deep in the hole that skidded by first base.

Outside of that play West Haven struggled to get runners on base, as Talcik worked the count in her favor and relied on her defense to get the job done.

On a raw blustery day both teams had their share of miseries at the plate, but Shelton did stage a couple of rallies that fell short.

West Haven took advantage of a wind-blown ball that fell into the left field corner for a lead off triple in the second inning. Kathryn Hoyt hustled into third base and wound up scoring when Jolie Morell grounded deep in the hole at shortstop.

Shelton threatened in the bottom of the inning when Gina Ciambriello unloaded a fly ball over the head of the right fielder for a two-out triple. Morgillo came back and got a strike out to end the threat.

For the third inning in a row West Haven got a runner on base, when catcher Rebecca Wicek dropped a third strike and the runner reached base. Talcik induced a ground out to get out of it and Wicek would come back to shake off the error and set West Haven down one inning later.

In the bottom of the third, Cataudella sliced a double into right field with one out. Carolyn Taylor slammed a pitch trying to get it down the line, but first baseman Morrell managed to get a glove on it and the scoring opportunity came up empty.

West Haven tried to get on base any way it could, but Wicek sprung from behind the plate twice to throw out runners by a step to end the fourth.

“This is the first year Becca played behind the plate and she is doing a great job for us,” said Desrochers. “Even with a young team we are playing well and need just seven more wins for the states and then anything can happen.”

Second baseman Marissa D’Angelo was flawless in the field, coming up with four putouts and in the fifth Hansen showed the glove work that held West Haven off the board.

Lauren Caciopoli got the second hit for West Haven,  belting a triple to right field. Marisa Pacapelli ripped a vicious shot down the line that Hansen stepped in front of for out number two and Talcik kicked the door closed by striking out the final batter.

West Haven had its own share of fielding gems, robbing Mary Pluecnik and Alexandra Mingolello of hits to close out the sixth and seventh innings, as Morgillo completed the shutout.

Shelton had its hands full this week when it took on three undefeated teams. The Gaelettes faced 3-0 North Haven on Monday, 2-0 Amity on Tuesday and will host 2-0 Sheehan on Friday.