New Milford 12-year-olds go down fighting in New England softball final
NEW MILFORD — The New Milford Chaos 12-year-old softball team faced an enormous task on Sunday on the final day of the Babe Ruth New England regional tournament, needing to win three straight games to capture the title.
While the Chaos didn’t quite accomplish what would have been a rather amazing feat, it can take great pride in knowing it went down fighting every step of the way.
After winning the loser’s bracket final Sunday morning to advance to the championship round, the Chaos lost to the Berkshire Force from Pittsfield, Mass., 6-5 in nine back-and-forth innings, to finish the tournament. New Milford would have had to beat Pittsfield twice to win the double-elimination tournament.
“It was tough to lose, like it always would be, but we played a good game and we worked hard,” New Milford catcher Charlie Vaughey said.
Emma Newberry drove in the winning run for Pittsfield with a walk-off double to the fence in left-center field. Pittsfield will play in the Babe Ruth 12-year-old World Series in Jensen Beach and Stuart, Fla., beginning July 28.
“New Milford was a great team and they were great competitors,” Newberry said. “We came together as a team playing in this tournament. It feels great being regional champions.”
NEW MILFORD’S DOZEN
The Chaos’ roster of 12 players included Charlie Vaughey, Mia Antonucci, Carly Lynch, Meaghan Sheedy, Allison Neak, Sydney Scalzo, Rachel Hoffman, Shelby Curry, Hannah Bauer, Avery Dayton, Kyleigh Stellato and Sophia Granata, along with head coach Joe Vaughey, assistants Chuck Lynch, Frank Antonucci and Dawn Curry, and manager Sam Classey.
“I really am proud,” Joe Vaughey said. “They work out all winter long, and they’re always together at sleepovers and pool parties. It’s a really tight-knit group. They make it really easy to coach. They’re the kind of team that chews nails, throws their bat-bags on and says let’s go play softball. I give them credit because they’re all pretty banged up at this point, but you never hear a word about it. I couldn’t be prouder as a coach.”
BACK AND FORTH BATTLE
Pittsfield struck first in the bottom of the first when Mia Arpante drew a leadoff walk — after fouling off four pitches — and scored on a single by Kami Sweet.
New Milford tied it at 1 in the second when Scalzo walked and scored on a grounder by Hofmann.
Pittsfield plated two more in the bottom of the second to pull ahead 3-1. A leadoff walk by Cheyann Goddard followed by a bunt single by Michaela Hinkley set the table, a grounder by Brenna McNeice moved them both into scoring position, and a grounder by Amanda Pou and a single by Apante drove them home.
New Milford got a run back in the third when Vaughey tripled and scored on an error, and scored the tying run in the fifth when Granata led off with a walk and scored on a sacrifice fly by Antonucci.
New Milford took its first lead of the game, 5-3, with two runs in the seventh. Walks to Curry, Vaughey and Antonucci loaded the bases with one out. With two outs, Sheedy lined a run-scoring single and Neak followed with a bases-loaded walk.
Pittsfield tied it again in the bottom of the seventh, as Brodi Rosier reached on an error and Bella MacDonald legged out an infield hit to put two on with no outs. Newberry then belted a two-run double to the fence in right-center to tie it at 5.
That’s the way it stayed until the bottom of the ninth, when Rosier lined a sharp single to center to lead off, and Sweet drew a one-out walk to move Rosier into scoring position. Newberry followed with another mammoth blast to win it.
Both teams pitchers were on target from the outset. Neak started in the circle for New Milford and worked six solid innings, scattering six hits and four walks while striking out two. She was relieved to start the seventh inning by Scalzo, who finished the game and allowed four hits while striking out one.
Sweet drew the start for Pittsfield and wenst 62/3strong. She scattered seven hits and seven walks while string out two. Pou came on with the bases loaded and two outs in the seventh and two New Milford runs already in. She promptly ended the inning with a strikeout to strand the bases loaded, and didn’t allow a New Milford hit the rest of the way, walking one and striking out one.
“We worked really hard this season, harder than we’ve ever worked before, and we made it really far. We all should be proud to have accomplished this,” Neak said. “It would have been nice to win, but we’re all happy that we did it as a team. We have no reason to hang our heads.”
A LOOK AHEAD
There is still some softball to be played this summer for the Chaos. They’ll play in a tournament in Brookfield next week, then comes the Fairfield County Softball League tournament to wrap up the summer season.
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BERKSHIRE FORCE 6, NEW MILFORD CHAOS 5
Babe Ruth 12-year-old New England regional final
NEW MILFORD CHAOS011 010 200 — 5 7 1
BERKSHIRE FORCE120 000 201 — 6 10 1
Batteries: NM—Allison Neak, Sydney Scalzo (7, L) and Charlie Vaughey; B—Kami Sweet, Amanda Pou (7, W) and Brodi Rosier.