EASTON, Conn. The Redding/Easton 9- and 10-year-old softball team had been getting big hits throughout the District 1 Little League tournament. The Rockets entered the sixth inning of Sunday's championship game against Darien locked in a 7-7 game, and the Rockets again came through with clutch hits.
Redding/Easton defeated Darien, 9-8, to win the District 1 title at Wilton's Middlebrook School. The victory sends the Rockets to the Section 1 tournament beginning Wednesday in Bridgeport. Redding/Easton will play Seymour in its first game in pool play.
"The original plan was to do this over a period of two years,'' manager Kevin Ota said. "We're actually surprised over how much we improved over five games in the district tournament."
Taylor Macchia started the winning rally with a walk. After an out, Caitlin Colangelo reached on an error. Both runners advanced on stolen bases. Macchia scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch. After another walk to Riley Hilford, Catarina Goncalves delivered a single to score Colangelo.
Darien threatened in the bottom of the inning and had the tying run on second with two outs. Macchia struck out the final batter to nail down the victory. Macchia pitched four innings and struck out five while allowing just one hit in relief of Kinsey Colby.
Macchia had four hits, including a triple, scored three runs and drove in two. Scotland Davis had two hits and an RBI, and Molly Rotondo had a single and three stolen bases. Goncalves had three hits and two RBIs. The hard-running Rockets had 12 stolen bases.
They also played outstanding defense, including a nice running catch by Goncalves in the first and a double play started by Rotondo on a popped up bunt. Rotondo also caught a Darien base runner stealing.
The Rockets took control with four runs in the first inning on RBIs by Davis, Macchia and Colangelo. Darien rallied to take the lead, 5-4, after three before the Rockets bounced back with three in the fourth. Darien tied it in the bottom of the inning, setting the stage for the dramatic sixth.
"We went through this before with Darien,'' Ota said about a win in extra innings in pool play. "It was pressure packed, but we came through when we had to. We're not a one-person team. Everyone made contributions. I think that's what makes this team successful."
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