Rocky Hill softball seniors (L-R) Nicole DesRoches, Lauren Colasacco, Tia Sheathelm, and Razina Bhura. Photo credit - Lisa Ullrich Slavin
Rocky Hill pitcher Nicole DesRoches surrendered two runs in the first inning and then was trapped in a bases loaded jam in the second inning.
Some coaches would have reach into their bullpen but not Rocky Hill head coach Tyler Catlin, who let his hard-throwing senior play through it.
“Coach Decker’s big mound visit helped her settle in,” recalled Catlin, “She got on a roll. She started striking out hitters four, five, and six.”
Trailing 3-1 in the second inning, assistant coach Matt Decker visited the mound to encourage DesRoches, saying, “We’re coming back off this field at 3-1 and we’re gonna hit and take the lead and shut them down from there.”
DesRoches responded by not allowing a run over the next four innings, tossing eight strikeouts, as the Terriers won 5-3 at Elm Ridge Park last Monday night.
“I think it’s really important that I had the people behind me doing what they needed to do. That helped me, and it was helpful that I got warmed up. They started struggling, so I started to feel better about the way I was pitching,” said DesRoches, “Tonight’s win was really good because we came into the game knowing they were a pretty good team, so winning this game will help our confidence.”
Glastonbury entered the contest 6-1, having averaged 12 runs per game in those six wins. Rocky Hill’s defense rose to the challenge, limiting the Guardians to only three hits and stranding five base runners.
The Terriers bats heated up in the fourth inning, scoring four runs.
Maddie Dillon slapped a triple down the right field line, which opened things up. Dillon, DesRoches, Shauna Kehoe, Jazzy Edmunds each scored in the pivotal inning.
Dillon then made the play of the night from the field in the fifth inning, making a diving stab after drifting to right field from her second base position.
Catlin said Dillon’s catch was reminiscent of the over-the-shoulder snag that former player Sophie Kurdziel made against St. Joseph in the 2016 Class M semifinals.
Kehoe, a sophomore who also drilled a triple, finished the game on the hill by pitching a hitless seventh inning to pick up a save.
Catlin likes his one-two pitching tandem, feeling they create a “thunder and lightning” aspect from the mound.
“I thought we’d bring in Shauna in the last inning. Shauna is a pretty composed kid, I know when I bring her in she will bring a spin,” recalled Catlin, who wanted to keep Glastonbury’s talented lineup off balance, “I wanted to give them something else to see. Nicole brings the heat and Shauna brings the spin.”
Catlin added, “It’s an Important win for us. To beat Glastonbury, a LL school that is a very good and a very well coached team, is nice.”
DesRoches is one of four seniors, along with Lauren Colasacco, Tia Sheathelm, and Razina Bhura.
“I’ve been playing with the other seniors since we were in little league, so we know each other really well,” said DesRoches, who also scored a run in the victory, “We’ve been friends outside of softball so that makes it easier to lead the group.”
The seniors have led the way through a tough schedule, while also grooming the next generation.
“I feel like when I was a freshman and a sophomore, the seniors took us under their wing, so I have just followed what they did. I talk to the freshman as much as possible and try and make them feel they are doing really good in practices and games. We all cheer each other on,” added DesRoches.
Rocky Hill finished the week with wins over New Britain and Middletown, before falling to Enfield to end the week at 6-5.
Edmunds had five RBIs and Bhura drove in two more runs in the win over New Britain.
Sheathelm had a masterful day in the field and smacked a triple in a 5-3 win over Middletown.
All told, the Terriers won three of four games last week.
“I felt like last week was a rough week,” Catlin said of the previous week when the Terriers dropped two of three games, “The rest of the season we just have to take it one game at a time and try and get on a roll.”
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Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin