Glastonbury High School softball standout Rayah Snyder played the hero twice last week.
First was during the Guardians 2-1 victory over Bristol Eastern on April 18.
Snyder, who had come up empty in her previous three plate appearances in the game, connected on a single in the bottom of the seventh inning, driving home Nabia Crawford for the game-winning run.
The walk-off winner by Snyder, the team’s leadoff hitter, improved the Guardians to 5-1 this spring.
“The nice thing about a leadoff batter is that they always come up when you need them,” head coach Karen Costes said of Snyder. “It was her fourth time facing Allison Tellier [Bristol Eastern’s pitcher] and Rayah made the adjustments to get the job done. She improved in each at bat and as a coach that’s how you know something special is about to happen.”
Costes added that the clutch hit was thanks to her ability to stay calm in pressure situations, saying, “We have been working hard on mental toughness and Rayah’s was on display against Bristol Eastern.”
Snyder’s hit ended an evenly-matched defensive game, in which each team scored once in the second inning and then were held in check prior to Snyder’s final swing.
“Hitting the game-winner was an amazing feeling, but my team earned that hit just as much as I did,” Snyder said. “Although I pushed the winning run across, everyone had their crucial roles in that win. Whether it was a fielded ground ball, a caught pop fly, or even cheering from the bench, everyone contributed. Which is why the highlight of this game for me wasn’t the game winning hit, but it was running to my team after the winning run crossed the plate and celebrating what we accomplished together.”
Snyder said that she didn’t let the previous trips to the plate affect her approach in the crucial moment.
“All I told myself when I was on deck was to put the ball in play. Move the runners. Do something that will benefit our team in this situation,” said Snyder, who plays shortstop. “Then when I got in the box, my mind became empty. I always mentally prepare for my at bats before I step in the box, so when I step in the box I can just see the ball and hit the ball. It allows me to react as opposed to overthink, and in this situation especially, it worked out.”
Brooke Tracy was again great from both the mound and plate. Tracy struck out 14, allowing only two hits, and also provided the Guardians first run when she smacked a solo home run in the second inning.
Crawford, who scored the game-winner, was the only player on either side to get multiple hits.
The team won two more games last week, improving to 7-1.
In a 13-8 triumph win over Windsor on April 20, the Guardians scored nine runs in the first inning to take a commanding 9-0 lead after one.
Sadie Scurto put the finishing touches on the victory with a three-run blast in the third inning. Scurto scored two runs, while Snyder and Natalie Lessard each crossed the plate three times.
Snyder helped the Guardians end the week with a fifth straight victory, breaking a 1-1 tie in the top of the seven inning with a 2-run single as Glastonbury held off Fitch 4-3 on April 22.
Snyder added that she enjoys tough games against good competition, saying, “Of course when games are that close everyone is on the edge of their seats, but I find I play well in high pressure situations when my team and I have high excitement and energy.”
In the win over Fitch, Scurto had three hits and an insurance RBI in the 7th, which ultimately made the difference.
Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin