DANBURY - Who needs a holiday break when you can be playing softball in December?
The players on the GROWS Watertown Rapids 18U team certainly didn’t, as they were anxious to get on the field (albeit indoors) and prolong the success they had enjoyed throughout 2021 and finish on a high note before flipping the calendar page to 2022.
That they did by winning the sixth annual Holiday Swansong Tournament held on December 28-30, and it was anything but easy for coach Chris Martin’s team.
“We played two games on December 28, another the next day and then four games on elimination day, winning four games on December 30 from the number five seed!,” said Martin.
The Rapids defeated the NB Bombers Black 11-0.
After scoring once in the first inning, the Rapids notched five runs in the fourth inning, with BriannaHynds, Nadia Andarowski, Nadia Cestari, and Kylie Bulinski driving in the runs.
Nadia Andarowski was the winning pitcher, allowing one hit in two innings, striking out four. Skylar Arent threw two innings in relief.
Watertown collected nine hits; Andarowski and Bulinski led ther way with two hits apiece.
In their second game on day one of the tournament, the Rapids fell behind early and couldn’t come back in an 11-3 loss to Empire State Huskies.
Empire State scored seven runs in the second inning to put the game away.
Cestari homered for the Rapids in the third inning and Jazmin Lanese went 2-for-2 at the plate to lead Watertown.
In their lone game of day two, Andarowki pitched the Rapids past the CT Titans Green 18U team, 9-0.
Andarowki allowed just one hit, while striking out 14 out of the 15 batters she faced over five innings.
The Rapids got things moving in the first inning, when Brianna Catalani singled on the first pitch she saw to drive in one run; that was followed by a four-run fifth inning, with Andarowki, Cestari, and Bulinski all contributing run-scoring hits.
Watertown’s nine-hit offense was led by Catalani and Bulinski with two each.
“Nadia hands-down had the best performance in a circle that I’ve ever seen in 11 years coaching travel softball,” said coach Martin. “Fifteen up and fifteen down is hard to do, but striking out fourteen of them was amazing!”
In a 12-0 win over the Titans, Arent went 3 innings for the Rapids, striking out six, walking none and giving up just one hit.
The Rapids started the scoring off in the first inning from back to back doubles by Lanese and Catalani, followed by a Kylie Bulinski single, Reagan Lalor triple, error off the bat of Arent and single by Nadia Andarowski.
Jazmin Lanese unloaded a two-out, bases-clearing triple, scoring Andarowksi, Brianna Hynds and Nadia Cestari to seal the 12-0, three-inning mercy win.
Nadia Andarowki threw a gem for Watertown in a 3-0 win over the Kingston Royals.
Andarowki scattered two hits over six innings, striking out 13 and walking one.
Kylie Bulinski homered foir the Rapids in the second inning; Bulinski, Andarowki, Arent, Catalani, Reagan Lalor, and Lanese each had hits to lead Watertown, which also played errorless defense.
The Rapids advanced to the title game in dramatic fashion, with a 3-2 walk-off victory over Ct Unity in time-limit International Tie Breaker. The game was tied at two in the bottom of the sixth when Brianna Hynds singled on a 1-0 count to drive in the game-winning run.
Ct Unity opened up scoring in the first inning to take a 2-0 lead, but in the bottom of the frame; in the bottom of the fifth inning, Watertown tied things up at two.
Nadia Andarowki was the winning pitcher in relief, going one inning, allowing one hit and striking out one.
Watertown racked up seven hits with Hynds and Catalani leading the team with two hits apiece.
The Rapids completed their run through the final day, coming back late in the game to score an 11-7 victory over Empire State Huskies.
The game was tied at six with Watertown batting in the top of the sixth when an error gave them the lead for good.
Empire State scored four runs in the third inning to overcome a 2-0 Rapids lead on a second inning double by Nadia Andarowki.
Andarowki was the winning pitcher; yielding ten hits and seven runs over seven innings, striking out nine and walking one.
Watertown wore their hitting shoes, collecting ten hits, with Andarowki, Brianna Hynds, Skylar Arent, and Kylie Bulinski leadingthe way with two apiece.
AMAZING STAT: Rapids pitchers Paige Fekete, Nadia Andarowksi and Skylar Arent combined for 55 strike outs while walking just five batters.