Kish's hot bat helps Westhill remain unbeaten in league play
STAMFORD -- The hurt from last season's quarterfinal round FCIAC Tournament loss to Fairfield Ludlowe lingered long for the members of Westhill High School's softball team.
Nearly 11 months later, the Vikings finally got their revenge on Wednesday afternoon.
"Actually, yeah, that was a big aspect of the game," said Kish when asked if payback was an additional motivator. "I sent out a text to the rest of the team last night telling them to be pumped."
Kish, Allie Souza and Brittany Bautista each had two hits for the Vikings, who improved to 6-1 overall and, at 5-0, remained one of three unbeaten teams in FCIAC play.
Macari (4-1), after giving up two runs -- one unearned -- in the fifth inning, retired nine of the final 10 batters she faced, and the lone runner reached on an error. She struck out eight and walked just one.
"Allison didn't pitcher her greatest in the first three innings, but she did a great job in the last four innings," Westhill coach Tom Pia said. "It was the best she pitched all season."
Each team committed four errors, but a pair of early double plays by the Vikings minimized their mistakes.
"Those two plays were huge, with where our runners were and what we could have done," Ludlowe coach Tony Samuelian said. "The first few innings the game went back and forth."
Ludlowe has eight starters back, though just three are seniors, from the team that used the win over Westhill as a springboard to reach the league championship game last season.
"That was a heartbreaker for Westhill last year and I would feel the same way today as they did if I was them," Samuelian said. "Last year was almost a dream world for us."
Ludlowe put two runners on in the first but failed to score after a double play spurred by a diving catch from Tammy Wise, who learned the day before she was being moved from the outfield to shortstop, despite no substantial experience at the position.
Ludlowe opened the third inning with the leadoff batter reaching on an error, followed by four straight singles, but was held to two runs after an alert play by Westhill second baseman Morgan Kurtz. After a hard shot by Nicki Tygesen deflected off the glove of first Megan D'Alessandro, Kurtz was able to make a catch on the play and then double the runner off of first base.
Westhill took the lead in the bottom half of the inning. Souza drew a one-out walk and went to third on Kish's base hit to center. Wise's ground out drove in Souza, and then Macari lined a shot down the leftfield line for a two-run homer.
Westhill broke the game open in the fifth inning, highlighted by Kish's three-run homer into the left-centerfield gap.
"That was pretty awesome," said Kish, who has been on an offensive tear since opening day. "The first pitch was a perfect strike on the outside corner. I let it go by. The next one was inside and that's my favorite one so I just took a swing."
Though the Vikings have been forced to play from behind in recent games, Pia said he has been encouraged by his players' resiliency.
"They don't get nervous," Pia said. "This is the team that knocked them out last year and they were definitely talking about it.
"Ludlowe is a good team, they are well coached, field the ball and everyone in the order hits the ball, and we came back twice. This team is unbelievable. They keep coming back."
LUDLOWE 002 020 0--4 7 4
WESTHILL 003 008 X--1110 4
Records: Fairfield Ludlowe 5-2, 4-2 FCIAC; Westhill 6-1, 5-0 FCIAC
Doubles: W--Elizabeth Joseph. Home runs: W--Macari, Cassandra Kish.
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