Returning to the Class S championship game wasn’t exactly on Somers softball coach Melanie Zamorski’s radar this season. When the season started in early April, her only thought was to get through the season healthy.
Her team won last Class S softball title in 2019 before the pandemic erased the high school spring sports season last year.
But the second-seeded Spartans (21-2) are heading back to the championship game after a 7-2 victory over Shepaug Valley in the Class S semifinals Monday afternoon at DeLuca Field. And they will face the same team they beat two years ago, 3-2, in the final — Coginchaug, a 5-2 winner over No. 1 seeded Notre Dame-Fairfield in the semifinal game Monday night.
“Our goal this year was all about getting to play,” Zamorski said. “We were never focused on wins and losses, so it’s kind of ironic we end up with the best winning season we’ve ever had.
“I don’t know if we’ve had a 20-win season, at least not under me, we haven’t. It was all about keeping everyone healthy. Everyone made it every single game, all together, this whole season and you can’t ask for anything more than that.”
Somers will play No. 4 Coginchaug, which is making its 17th appearance in the championship, Friday or Saturday at a time and location to be determined.
“It feels amazing,” Somers senior pitcher Emily Reynolds said. “This team is so special. I’m a senior, and being on that team from two years ago, we just had a huge group of really supportive and caring upperclassmen. I wanted to be that for this amazing group of underclassmen. I’m so happy to be along for the ride with these guys.”
Reynolds hit a three-run home run over the center field fence in the fourth inning to break open the game.
“That felt amazing,” said Reynolds, who struck out five and gave up seven hits. “I knew once it was off the bat, dead center, I knew it was gone. It felt so good off the bat.”
Shepaug Valley, the 11th seed, scored first, when Sophia Granata tripled to right and scored on a fielder’s choice. Somers went ahead 2-1 in the bottom of the inning when Shepaug made five errors, but Shepaug tied it in the second when Haylie Lasky doubled and scored on a single by Marissa Perachi.
Somers scored on an error for the go-ahead run in the fourth inning before Reynolds’ home run cleared the bases and gave the Spartans a 6-2 lead. Kiana Kalman singled home Somers’ final run in the sixth inning.
Reynolds was one of three seniors who played on the Spartans’ 2019 title team.
“Our juniors ran in a couple of innings in 2019, but they did not play,” Zamorski said. “They worked so hard in that year off, and they came back as completely new players.”
Coginchaug upsets Notre Dame-Fairfield
Amalia DeMartino had four hits, Ava Marenna and Natalie Ness each drove in two runs and Coginchaug senior pitcher Kelly Boothroyd struck out eight and gave up six hits in Coginchaug’s 5-2 victory over Notre Dame-Fairfield.
“I think this is the most nervous I’ve ever come into a game because they did have a lot of hype,” Boothroyd said.
Mack Stone-Folmar hit a home run in the third and Notre-Dame-Fairfield (20-3) managed another run on a single by Riley Marko in the bottom of the seventh inning, but Boothroyd got a strikeout and a pop-up to end the game with the bases loaded.
Boothroyd said Coginchaug (19-3) was looking forward to playing Somers again.
“We want to come back and beat them this time,” Boothroyd said. “We should not have lost that game two years ago so I’m excited to go back and have another chance.”
Lori Riley can be reached at email@example.com.