NORWALK, Conn. Norwalk High's softball team grabbed early momentum in Friday's conference semifinal against Westhill at Sacred Heart University. But unfortunately for the fourth-seeded Bears, the No. 1 seeded Vikings erupted for five runs in the third inning en route to a 7-4 victory.
The Vikings (20-2) will meet No. 2 Darien (18-3) for the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference title Saturday at Sacred Heart at noon. The fourth-seeded Bears (14-8) host Trumbull in the first round of the Class LL state tournament Tuesday at 4 p.m.
Norwalk took a 2-0 lead in the second on RBIs by freshman Nicole Bonanni and Leslie Garcia. Westhill answered with a pair in its half, and Norwalk went up again on an RBI from Eleni Petridis.
But Westhill took the lead for good in the bottom of the inning. RBI singles by Kate Brainard and Brittany Bautista put the Vikings ahead, and Tammy Wise launched a three-run triple into the gap in right-center. Norwalk got one back in the fifth when Patti Sciglimpaglia scored on a wild pitch.
Westhill pitcher Allison Macari settled down late, retiring seven of the final eight batters. She also pitched out of a bases loaded, one-out jam in the fourth.
"I'm really proud of how hard they worked to get here,'' Norwalk coach Elaine Gratrix said. "We took advantage of the opportunities we had. We put it out there and they made plays."
Sciglimpaglia had three hits for Norwalk and pitched well against a hard-hitting Westhill team. Westhill had four hits in the big third inning but just three the rest of the way. One error on an attempted sacrifice by Macari helped set up Westhill's big inning.
"We did a lot of the things we've been working on to get here,'' Gratrix said. "I really didn't feel we were nervous. We made the most of our opportunities."
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