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In a duel between Division I softball pitchers, Coventry beats Ellington 1-0

ELLINGTON – One pitcher has committed to Syracuse. The other is going to St. Peter’s.

Not surprisingly, the early season NCCC softball game between Ellington, a Class L semifinalist last year, and defending Class S champion Coventry was a duel between the two top pitchers Wednesday.

Senior Elizabeth Mitchell had eight strikeouts and emerged triumphant, her Coventry team winning, 1-0. Mitchell, who will play for St. Peter’s next season, had eight strikeouts and gave up two hits.

Coventry pitcher Elizabeth Mitchell throws against Cromwell during the Class S final softball game against Cromwell at Burrill Family Field Softball Complex in Storrs, Saturday, June 10, 2023. (Jessica Hill/Special to the Courant)
Coventry pitcher Elizabeth Mitchell throws against Cromwell during the Class S final softball game against Cromwell at Burrill Family Field Softball Complex in Storrs, Saturday, June 10, 2023. (Jessica Hill/Special to the Courant)

Ellington junior Camryn Fisher, whom Coventry coach Jeff LaHouse called “the best pitcher we’ll face all year,” struck out 12 and gave up two hits in the loss. Fisher has committed to the Orange.

“I think everybody was expecting a game like this,” LaHouse said. “We could play each other 10 times, it’s probably going to a 5-5, 6-4 scenario. We beat them last year, 1-0.”

That was en route to Coventry’s first state title, a 3-2 win over Cromwell in the Class S final. Some key pieces from that team graduated, including catcher Remington Casida, who went to play at Endicott, and Lindsey Harrington, who hit the game-winning inside-the-park home run in the bottom of the sixth in the championship game at UConn.

But the Patriots (6-0) have four freshmen slotted into the starting lineup and one, Emma Vertucci, came up big Wednesday against Fisher. Vertucci, batting in the ninth spot, doubled home Charlotte Weseloskie, who reached on an error and stole second base, in the third inning for the only run of the game.

“She’s definitely one of the best pitchers in the state,” said Mitchell, who had Coventry’s other hit (a single in the fourth inning), of Fisher.

“I’m not surprised (Coventry is unbeaten). We’ve got a bunch of freshmen who are great players. They’ve replaced some of our players who had really big roles. They’re still learning but I’m not surprised at all.”

Ellington pitcher Camryn Fisher (27) winds up a pitch against an Enfield player in their game at Ellington High School, Saturday, May 6, 2023. Enfield won in 9 innings, 3-1. Cloe Poisson/Special to the Courant
Ellington junior Camryn Fisher, shown pitching last season, had 12 strikeouts Wednesday in a 1-0 loss to Coventry. (Cloe Poisson/Special to the Courant)

Fisher opened the game by striking out Coventry’s leadoff hitter Lilah Talaga on three pitches. In the third, Ellington (4-2) made two errors; the only run of the game was unearned and Fisher struck out the side.

“I had to drill it through my younger kids’ heads – you got to be ready to hit that first pitch,” LaHouse said. “If she gives you the first pitch and you take that, you’re in trouble now for that at-bat. If she comes in the zone, you got to be ready to hit it.

“We told the kids: ‘Listen, you’re not going to go 4 for 4 in this game. You’re about to face the best pitcher you’ll face all year, and probably not even in the states, we’ll see anybody like Cam.’ She is so good. You would think it’s her speed, which is pretty much unmatchable, but she’s also a smart pitcher. She just doesn’t go by her speed. She knows when to throw the changeup, she’s very good at location. She’s just a tough kid to go against. She’s always one step ahead of you.”

Meanwhile, Mitchell was cruising along, and her defense was solid behind her. None of the Ellington baserunners made it past first.

“Liz’s pitching is definitely stronger than last year because she works so hard,” LaHouse said. “Physically, she’s so good but she’s so strong mentally. She just does not get intimidated. She would take on a college team – I wouldn’t say we’d beat them, but she wouldn’t be intimidated. She’d take them on right now.

“Her hitting has come a long ways, too – she has six home runs and 19 RBI, and we’ve only played two weeks.”

 

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