NAUGATUCK — The Tug Valley Lady Panther softball team got off to a quick start to begin the 2021 season this past week as they picked up three wins in a four day span.
In the season opener against Martin County on April 14, TVHS jumped all over the Lady Cardinals as they picked up a three-inning mercy rule win by the final score of 15-0.
Coach Rocky Hall’s squad scored three runs in the top of the first inning and then poured it on in the second frame as they crossed the plate 12 times in the single inning.
Autumn Hall slugged led the Lady Panthers at the plate with two hits including her first home run of the season and three RBIs. Junior shortstop Cassidy Griffey also had two hits in the game including a double to go along with two runs and a run batted in.
Hall pitched the first two innings of the game allowing no runs, no hits, and striking out six batters while allowing one walk while Kinna Justice pitched the final inning allowing no runs on one hit while striking out two.
Tug Valley was hit by a pitch nine times by Martin County pitcher Kayleigh Osendott as she struggled to grip the ball in wet conditions. 10 different Lady Panthers scored runs in the game with Brooklyn Farley crossing the plate three times to lead the team.
In the home opener on Friday, April 16, Tug Valley hosted defending Class A State Champion Sherman to Naugatuck in a rematch of the 2019 Region 4 Section 2 Championship game and the Lady Tide handed them their first loss of the season in a 5-1 defeat.
The game remained scoreless until the top of the 4th when Sherman scored a run to go up 1-0 before they scored four more times in the top of the 7th to take a 5-0 lead.
TVHS scored their lone run in the bottom of the 7th as Justice laced a double and eventually came around to score to reach the final tally of 5-1.
Hall took the loss pitching the complete game allowed five runs, four earned, on six hits and four walks while striking out eight batters.
Haleigh Muncy also smacked a double in the game for the Lady Panthers while Hall, Amelya Wellman, and Kaitlyn Copley each finished with a single.
The silver-and-black were back in action at home again the following day on Saturday, April 17 and got back on the right track as they swept a doubleheader with a 8-0 triumph in six innings over Martin County followed by a 5-0 shutout win over Logan.
In game one against the Lady Cards, TVHS jumped all over their opponent once again as they five runs in the bottom of the first inning to take a commanding 5-0 lead before taking on single runs in the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings.
Hall started the game and pitched one inning allowing only one hit while striking out two but was pulled after the Lady Panthers took the big league to be saved for game two.
Justice came in and picked up where Hall left off pitching the final five innings allowing zero runs and only one hit while striking out nine and walking one.
At the plate TVHS pounded 13 hits led by Wellman who laced three doubles on the night. Muncy had two doubles and knocked in three runs while Griffey added two hits and two runs and Farley finished 2-2 with an RBI.
Hall, Emily Hatfield, and Tailyn Russell also were credited with doubles while Alyssa Newsome recorded an RBI single.
In the second of the twin bill, Hall returned to the circle and had a dominant performance in the 5-0 win against the Lady Wildcats pitching a complete game one-hit shutout while striking out seven batters and walking none.
The Lady Panthers jumped ahead in the bottom of the first inning when Hatfield smacked a no doubt two-run homer to give her team a 2-0 lead.
Coach Hall’s club would never look back as they would add a single run in the third inning and two in the sixth in route to the victory.
Hatfield finished the game 2-3 with a double and three RBIs to go along with the home run while Hall also recorded a multiple hit game with two knocks.
Wellman and Copley also contributed to the cause with RBI singles.
TVHS has a busy week ahead playing at Pike Central on Monday, at Van on Tuesday, returning home to play Chapmanville on Thursday, at Buffalo on Friday, and a doubleheader on the road on Saturday against Tolsia and Cross Lanes Christian.