Masuk softball team edges Brookfield, stays unbeaten

Katie Welch tracks down a Brookfield player during Masuk's 6-4 win. — Andy Hutchison photo

Katie Welch tracks down a Brookfield player during Masuk’s 6-4 win. — Andy Hutchison photo

Close games have been few and far between for the undefeated Masuk High softball team this season. But on Monday, the Panthers showed they can win those contests, too.

Trailing Brookfield, 3-2, through three innings, Masuk scored two runs in the top of the fourth to go ahead. The Panthers added single runs in the fifth and seventh innings to beat Brookfield, 6-4, and improve to 19-0 overall this season.

Masuk goes into the regular-season finale at Newtown (11-1 in the SWC) — a game that was postponed from Tuesday — in a battle for the top overall seed in the conference. Win or lose, the Panthers will have an SWC tournament quarterfinal-round home game on Saturday against an opponent to be determined.

Monday’s game with Brookfield was a good postseason tune-up for the Panthers. With the win, Masuk handed Brookfield a rare loss as the Bobcats fell to 16-3 overall and 10-2 in the SWC.

“We’re going to be playing solid teams in SWCs and states. These types of games will prepare us better for what we’re going to see down the road,” said Masuk coach Leigh Barone. “It’s good for them to be down to see what they can do when they’re down.”

Masuk’s two-run rally in the top of the fourth began with two outs and no one on base. Emily Lange was hit by a pitch and Erica Pullen followed with a single. Megan McFarland then doubled to score both runners and put the Panthers ahead to stay.

Montana Killoran added an RBI groundout in the fifth inning and Madison Procyk scored on an error in the seventh.

McFarland finished with three hits, two RBIs and a run scored. Procyk added three hits, an RBI and a run scored, and Pullen had two hits and scored two runs. Lange contributed two hits and scored a run.

Sam Schiebe started for Masuk and pitched two and two-thirds innings. She allowed three runs on five hits while walking one batter and striking out four.

Procyk took over in the bottom of the third and held Brookfield to one unearned run on one hit in four and one-third innings. Procyk struck out five batters and didn’t walk any.

“We knew they were going to hit the ball against any of our pitchers,” said Barone, noting that Brookfield had scored 16 runs against a Joel Barlow team that Masuk defeated 1-0.

The game plan going in was to switch pitchers, if necessary, for a different look. And it worked.

“It’s hard to adjust. They’re two very different pitchers,” said Barone.

Procyk said she enjoys working with Masuk’s catcher, Pullen.

“She’s in my head, she knows what I’m thinking. She knows what my strengths and weaknesses are,” said Procyk.

Notes: The Panthers routed Kolbe Cathedral, 28-0, last Friday in Monroe. The game was stopped after four and a-half innings due to the run rule.

Schiebe pitched a one-hit shutout for Masuk, striking out 10 batters.

At the plate, Schiebe supplied four hits and four RBIs. Allie Lichvar added two hits, including a grand slam home run, five RBIs and four runs scored, and Pullen collected three hits, four RBIs and four runs scored.

Gretchen Bunovsky (two hits, three RBIs, two runs scored), McFarland (three hits, two RBIs, two runs scored), and Lange (three hits, three RBIs, three runs scored) also had big days at the plate for the Panthers.

Procyk pitched a perfect game in Masuk’s 21-0 road win over Immaculate last Wednesday in Danbury. She allowed no hits or walks and struck out 10 batters in five innings, as the game was stopped early due to the run rule.

Alexa Bacoulis was 2-for-3 with a home run and five RBIs for the Panthers. Bacoulis also scored three runs.

Pullen added two hits and four RBIs, and McFarland had three hits, three RBIs and three runs scored.

Bunovsky contributed two hits, two RBIs and two runs scored, while Katie Welch had two hits and scored three runs and Lange added three hits and scored two runs.

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