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Article Published May 2, 2021

Yellowjackets Pile Up the Runs During Perfect Week

By By Dan Fappiano

After seeing his team get no-hit by Cheshire for its first loss of the season on April 20, East Haven softball Head Coach Ed Crisafi said that the Yellowjackets entered last week’s action with a bit of a chip on their shoulder. Crisafi’s squad responded in a big-time way by prevailing in all three of its games, winning two blowouts and a nail-biter to improve to 8-1 on the year.

The Easties posted a trio of road victories last week. East Haven earned a 14-0 win versus Sheehan, a 10-9 victory against Amity, and then a 19-2 victory over West Haven.

Coach Crisafi was pleased to see East Haven break out the bats and put together an excellent week on the field.

“They were disappointed in themselves in the game against Cheshire. They knew that wasn’t really them,” said Crisafi. “We played teams that we knew we would come out and hit the ball well. They’re really looking forward to the rematch against Cheshire.”

East Haven started off its week by claiming a 14-0, five-inning victory at Sheehan on April 26. Junior Emilee Bishop notched the win on the mound by pitching the first three innings for the Yellowjackets, allowing no runs and striking out five. Sophomore Lily Gagnon tossed two scoreless innings and had five strikeouts to close it out.

Senior captain second baseman Samantha Franceschi went 3-for-3 with two doubles, a triple, three runs scored, and two RBI for East Haven. Junior catcher Magdalena Barthel also went 3-for-3 with three runs scored and three RBI, while junior outfielder Jilien Ayala was 3-for-3 with two RBI to spur the Yellowjackets’ 16-hit attack.

Two days later, East Haven traveled to Woodbridge to play Amity and jumped out to a 7-1 lead through four innings. The Spartans started chipping away and were trailing 10-5 entering the bottom of the seventh. Amity scored four runs in the frame, but the Yellowjackets were able to hang on for the 10-9 victory.

Senior captain Tori Heaphy pitched the first 6.1 innings and struck out six to get the win. Bishop earned the save by retiring the last two batters of the game. Franceschi went 4-for-5 with three runs and three RBI, and Barthel was 3-for-4 with three RBI.

East Haven finished off its week with a 19-2 win at West Haven on April 30. The Yellowjackets scored one run in the first inning, 13 runs in the second, and five more in the fourth on their way to the five-inning victory.

Bishop pitched the first two innings for the win, and Gagnon threw the last three innings for East Haven. Heaphy went 4-for-4 with three runs scored and four RBI, while Barthel went 4-for-5 with five RBI, including a home run. Ayala was 4-for-4 with two RBI, and Franceschi added three hits in the victory.

When all was said and done, East Haven scored 43 runs and had 42 hits during its three-win week. The Yellowjackets have scored at least nine runs in seven of the nine games that they’ve played this spring.

Coach Crisafi has been impressed with his team’s performances in the batter’s box. Heaphy has a .609 batting average on the year, while Bishop (.556), Barthel (.515), Franceschi (.486), and Ayala (.478) are also providing tons of production at the plate.

“We’ve been scoring a lot of runs. Most of these girls have raised their averages 50 to 100 points over this span,” Crisafi said. “Everybody is hitting the ball. Everybody is confident. Hopefully, we could do that for the rest of the year.”

East Haven has nine games left on its regular-season schedule. After playing the first half of the campaign on the road due to field repairs, all nine of the Yellowjackets’ remaining games will take place on their home diamond. Sitting just one game behind Cheshire in the SCC Hammonasset Division standings, Coach Crisafi is hoping that the Easties can keep playing solid softball and finish the regular season strong.

Crisafi also wants to see East Haven lock up high seeds to get some home games in both the SCC Tournament and the Class L State Tournament. Two years ago, the Yellowjackets made it all the way to the Class L state final. With plenty of players returning from that club, Coach Crisafi is looking for his team to go on another playoff run in 2021.

“With eight teams making the SCC Tournament, we want to be in the top four to earn a home game in the first round. If we can somehow be in the top four in the Class L, you can play three home games,” said Crisafi. “That’s the message. We have to keep winning. We have to keep improving our seeding.”