The Fairfield Warde softball team knows that Wednesday's game with state No. 1 Westhill was just a tuneup.

The Mustangs took the Vikings best punch right from the outset, and delivered one of its own. Unfortunately for Warde, it just came a little too late.

"Unfortunately we ran out of innings there at the end," Warde Head Coach Gary Quiricone said. "I think in the last inning we would have caught up to them."

Westhill's first four batters reached and before the Mustangs had recorded an out it was 3-0. Warde could have packed up the tent and gone home knowing that it was facing a terrific team.

"We spotted them the three runs," Quiricone said.

But the Mustangs responded, knowing the value of Wednesday's game. Warde rallied and brought the winning run to the plate in the seventh inning in Gina Treglia. The senior pitcher flew out to centerfield to end the game.

"I think we kept our poise through the middle innings to come back like we did," Quiricone said. "I'm proud of this team for doing that."

If not for a pair of baserunning blunders, Warde could have been tied. But Quiricone understands that and knows that his team has seen Westhill's best and that next time the Vikings and Mustangs play -- perhaps in the FCIAC Finals -- Warde will bring its best.

"We want to see them again," Quiricone said. "The way we played the second half of the game, if we play that way, I think we'll be in great shape."