KIS softball team wins junior conference championship

By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Killingly - posted Tue., Jun. 7, 2011
Sue Rodriquez gets the ball before Alyssa Rainey reaches second base. Photos by D. Coffey.
Sue Rodriquez gets the ball before Alyssa Rainey reaches second base. Photos by D. Coffey.

The Killingly Intermediate School Cougars and the Brooklyn Bobcats faced off on June 2 in the Quinebaug Valley Junior Conference Large Division championship game. Both teams expected a tough battle. They had faced each other earlier in the season, and Brooklyn won. As it turned out, that game was Killingly’s only loss in a 9-1 season.

The teams were so well matched that the coaches and players knew it would come down to how well they hit and how many errors were made.

Brooklyn scored first in the top of the third inning with one run. KIS coach Mandi Hogan pulled her team together. “It's time to dig in,” she told them.

Killingly came out hitting. Brooklyn made a few errors that the Cougars took advantage of. Killingly sent eight players to bat and scored four runs. It was the only inning where either team scored.

Hogan thought her team gave a great performance all-around. The team effort included Taylor Duchesneau pitching a solid game and Beth Ortiz having a solid defensive game behind the plate.

“Amanda caught a great line drive at third,” Hogan said. “It was a wonderful catch. Maddie Weaver made a wonderful bunt to move some runners over. Annie Vance had a big hit to right centerfield. Drew Johndrow, who never played softball until this year, started in left centerfield. It was just a good team effort. They did well everywhere.”

This was the same team that won the championship two years ago. Hogan credits the girls with a strong work ethic and commitment to the team. They didn't take a day off, she said. They worked in the rain, over April vacation and on Memorial Day.

“I’m going to miss this team,” Hogan said. “This group of kids is just amazing. We laughed a lot. It was hard work and it was fun. They can leave going up to high school knowing they won a championship. And I’m glad we're sending up good ballplayers.”

While Hogan faces the prospect of a rebuilding year, with the loss of seven players, Brooklyn coach Amanda Sorel has a strong core of seventh-graders returning. She is looking forward to next season. “We had a great season,” Sorel said. “I knew from day one that this was a special team. We've got a lot of natural talent.”


Coach’s Corner-

KIS Softball Coach Mandi Hogan

Seasons with the team: 5

Thoughts on the season: "I expected my players to play hard. I expected them to make the playoffs,” Hogan said. “I was grateful, however, that we had a 9-1 record. I didn’t expect 9-1. That was a bonus for us. It was a wonderful record.”


Spotlight Players-

Taylor Duchesneau - Pitcher, 8th grade, Number 6: Taylor had 175 strikeouts in 25 games in her middle school career. She threw 93 strikeouts this year alone. This game she struck out five, walked only two, and allowed only three hits.


Beth Ortiz - Catcher, 8th grade, Number 9: This is Ortiz's first year at catcher and she caught all 12 games for the Cougars. She has a great arm to first, second and third bases. She's picked off two players this year. Not many balls get by her when she's behind the plate.


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