Falcons softball dominates Staples to advance in Class LL

The Fairfield Ludlowe softball team is so hot, not even a loss, nor a rocky first inning could cool it off.

Falcons' pitcher Aliza Guerrero allowed just one hit after the first inning, and the No. 15 seed Ludlowe rolled to a 9-2 win over No. 18 Staples in the first round of the Class LL state tournament on Tuesday at Sturges Park in Fairfield.

Ludlowe's Elise Perazzini scored three runs and shortstop Emily Nelson had three singles as the Falcons rocked 11 hits in the game.

"I can't get over our bats," Ludlowe coach Tony Samuelian said.

The win was Ludlowe's sixth in its last seven games, with the only loss of the bunch being to Darien in the FCIAC championship game.

"You come off that high of the FCIAC final game, I didn't know how we'd react," Samuelian said.

Staples was led by senior Alex Masiello, who had a two-run triple in the first inning that put the Wreckers ahead, 2-0. Masiello, however, was doubled off third on a line out to shortstop to end the inning.

"We came out ready to play," Staples coach Mark Giordano said. "We took ourselves out of our rhythm with the double play at the end of the inning."

But the Falcons answered with three in the bottom of the first, aided by two errors by Masiello. Nelson socked a single up the middle to score Perazzini. Breanna Martini then reached scored on a fielders choice when Masiello's throw to nail Lizzie Knuff at the plate was late.

"In the bottom of the first we fell apart," Giordano said.

Nelson then scored on a sacrifice fly by, when Masiello caught a pop up in foul ground off the bat of Maggie Lapolla, but her momentum carried her out of play and each runner was awarded a base, making the game 3-2.

"I knew that we were strong enough with the bats," Perazzini said. "Once we went up 3-2, I knew we were in the clear."

Ludlowe added two more in the second, when Jen Hsieh singled home Colleen Lambert. Perazzini also scored on a throwing error in the inning.

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Meredith McGann led off the third with a triple and scored on a single by Lapolla to put the Falcons up 6-2.

All the while, Guerrero cruised. The Falcons' starter allowed just one hit after Masiello's triple, striking out six, and making it look effortless.

"What a gamer," Samuelian said of Guerrero. "She's so focused, it's unbelievable."

"When she paints the outside corner, no one can hit it," Perazzini said.

Ludlowe tacked on three more runs in the fifth, when Perazzini doubled home Lapolla and Gillian Kennedy to put the Falcons up 8-2. Perazzini reached third on a wild pitch, and scored on Masiello's third error of the game. The Wreckers committed four errors as a team.

"We hurt ourselves in the field," Giordano said.

The Falcons advance to the Class LL second round where they will play second-seeded Southington at 4 p.m.

"We have so much confidence," Perazzini said. "We have momentum."

Staples ended its year 11-9.