ANSONIA — After a slow start Tuesday, Ansonia’s offense exploded for 10 runs in the fourth inning, which helped lead the Lady Tigers to a 12-2 run rule victory against Bethel.
The Tigers started slow, Ansonia softball coach Floyd Jenkins said, but they kept their composure and did what was needed to win.
“We’re pretty young still, still growing, still learning,” Jenkins said. “The kids are working hard, and it’s enjoyable to watch right now.”
Ansonia couldn’t get much going in the opening three innings and was limited to a single hit through three frames.
Bethel, meanwhile, was able to get some hits early off Catey Fischer, but she and the Lady Tiger defense held the Bees in check through the first few innings.
“You’ve got to give Bethel some credit,” Jenkins said. “They come out, and they was hitting the ball. They hit Catey, we made a couple mistakes, but we kept our composure.”
Bethel finally broke the scoreless tie in the top half of the fourth inning with a pair of unearned runs.
The Bees’ leadoff hitter reached base as Ansonia couldn’t field a throw to first. The base runner then stole second and third and scored as a throw to third base bounced off her and to the fence, giving the Bees a 1-0 advantage.
Bethel then strung together three consecutive two-out hits to plate one more run, giving the Bees a 2-0 lead.
Ansonia bounced back quickly from its mistakes in the top half of the fourth inning and took advantage of some Bethel errors in the bottom half of the inning.
Allison Phillippi led off the inning with a single, and then Fischer reached base on a walk.
After Holli Hammaker laid down a bunt single, Bethel threw the ball away trying to catch Phillippi off third base, which allowed her to score for a 2-1 score.
Brooke Neal then put down a bunt, and Fischer beat the throw to home, tying the game at 2-2.
“We did pretty good at our short game, running the bases and getting the bunts down in play,” Jenkins said. “That helped us have that big inning there.”
With two runners on base, Monica Stover drove in a pair of runs with a single to give Ansonia its first lead at 4-2. Stover was aggressive on the base paths and advanced all the way to third base on the throw to home from the outfield.
After Brooklyn Wampler got a bunt single and took second base uncontested, a wild pitch advanced both runners and made the score 5-2.
Bethel finally got an out in the inning, catching Wampler at third, but Taylor Thwaits got a hit to put runners on second and third. Then a wild pitch allowed Jailyn Thwaits to score for a 6-2 Ansonia lead.
After an error put base runners at second and third, Phillippi drove in both runners with a single for an 8-2 lead. Then Fischer cleared the bases with a two-run home run for the ninth and 10th runs of the inning.
“They hit the ball in the that fourth and fifth like they’re capable of hitting it,” Jenkins said.
After Fischer set down Bethel in the fifth inning, the Tigers got some big hits to end the game.
Wampler led off with a single, and then scored on a Taylor Thwaits triple. The game ended as Phillippi smacked a double to drive in the game-winning run in the 12-2 run rule victory.
“Them two girls have been smashing the ball all year long — Taylor Thwaits and Allison and even Catey,” Jenkins said. “We have several girls right now with high batting averages.”
Ansonia had 16 hits in the game including four doubles, a triple and a home run to Bethel’s five hits, which included four singles and a double.
Fischer struck out five batters for the Tigers, all coming in the final three innings.
“Catey’s getting stronger and stronger,” Jenkins said.
Ansonia will return to action with a Cross County Conference game on Thursday against Covington.
“We’re ready to play some ball this week,” Jenkins said. “We’ve got some league games, and we’re real excited about the league. I think we want to compete in it this year. I think there’s several good teams, and you’ve got to be ready to play every league game.”