Pictured: H-K’s Cheyenne LaTouche (22) comes home on a fourth-inning single by Bella LaTorre. The Cougars defeated Coginchaug 7-6 in the Shoreline Conference on Friday.

By Paul Augeri
middlesexcountysports@gmail.com

DURHAM — An eventful seventh inning between a veteran Haddam-Killingworth softball team and a young, gritty Coginchaug squad was worth the wait.

Tied at 5 after six, H-K jumped ahead on senior Bella LaTorre’s two-out, two-run double in its final at-bat to retake the lead.

In the bottom of the seventh, senior reliever Bella Richwine found herself in a pressure situation after allowing a leadoff single to Emily Allen and a two-out walk to Kenzie Bearor. A double by Ashley Tarquino cut Coginchaug’s deficit to one before H-K second baseman Keira Czarkowski gloved a blooper to seal the Cougars’ 7-6 Shoreline Conference victory.

H-K saw a 5-1 lead disappear in the fourth thanks in part to three errors, but the Cougars — who were coming off a 10-run loss to undefeated North Branford earlier in the week — bounced back for their eighth win in nine games.

Bella LaTorre and H-K assistant coach Kate Meyer at first base after LaTorre drove in a fourth-inning run.

“At 5-1 I said, ‘Now I can sit down and relax,'” Cougars coach Jeff Talbott said, “but it doesn’t usually happen here because we have a lot of close games.”

LaTorre turned in a 5-RBI performance, her most productive game of the season. After lining out to center in her first at-bat, the senior had a run-scoring single in the fourth to give H-K a 1-0 lead. She belted a two-run double to cap the team’s four-run fifth before authoring the game-deciding blow in the seventh.

“I was very determined, especially after that (North Branford) loss,” LaTorre said. “I think we all wanted to come out here and play the best that we could. I knew what I had to do and I did it.”

“That’s it in a nutshell,” Talbott said.

Senior Cheyenne LaTouche reached base in each of her four at-bats, walking three times and scoring three runs. Annabelle Zajac drove in a run, and Richwine, Czarkowski, Hannah Reilly and Grace Natanzon all had hits for the Cougars.

Coginchaug (2-4) scored four times in its half of the fifth. Lilly Montgomery and Ava Ekblade had RBI singles and Allen an RBI groundout.

Montgomery, Allen and Konopka had two hits each, Claire Overton scored two runs and Ekblade had two RBI for the Blue Devils.

“We battled,” said coach Steve DeMartino, who has just three seniors in his starting lineup. “For me it’s encouraging to see this. It’s really the first time I’ve seen the girls play a really good team and hit well in a down situation. For a young team to do that, that’s really encouraging for a coach. Down 5-1, they could have buried themselves. But they found it and strung hits together.

“A great game and I’m proud of the girls.”

Batteries: HK–Emma Giaccone, Bella Richwine (5) and Grace Natanzon; Coginchaug–Emily Allen and Paige Konopka. WP: Richwine; LP: Allen

H-K…………….000 140 2–7 8 3
Coginchaug…000 140 1–6 10 0

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