A late-season surge had Shepaug Valley High School's resilient girls' softball team on the verge of state tournament qualification.

Coach Steve Pickett's Spartans owned a 7-12 record and needed a victory Wednesday over Berkshire League rival Wolcott Tech to make the grade for the CIAC's class `S' diamond party.

It appeared last week the Region 12 bat crew might be headed for an early exit to their season when four straight losses dropped the won-lost ledger to 5-12.

However, junior southpaw Gwen Clair pitched back-to-back mound gems and received strong defensive support as the Spartans shut down Litchfield, 7-1, last Friday at Ayer Field in Washington Depot and edged Housatonic Valley, 4-1, Monday in Falls Village.

That left it up the Shepaug to ease past Wolcott Tech, a team the Spartans had handled, 18-3, in their first meeting, in order to qualify for post-season action.

Seedings and pairings for the state class `S' tournament will be announced today (Friday) or Saturday.

-- Norm Cummings