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Hartford Softball Nips Windsor

Windsor — She was at her best when it counted the most.

Hartford pitcher Kaitlyn Woodward retired the final 10 batters while her teammates pushed across the tie-breaking run in the sixth inning as the Hurricanes pulled out a 6-5 win over Windsor in the final regular season game for both teams.

The junior right-hander had one inning that looked like it might be a disaster. She took a 5-1 lead into the fourth inning, then proceeded to walk the first two batters, followed by two errors and a Haley Wood two-run homer. The Jacks scored four runs in the inning and tied the game at 5-5.

But that was her only blip of the day as she didn’t allow a base runner over the final three innings.

“This was a grind,” Hartford coach Gary Gervais said. “No matter how many runs Windsor was behind, I knew they would make a comeback. That’s just the way they do things down here.”

Emma Healey keyed the Hartford run that decided the game with a leadoff double in the sixth. She was sacrificed to third by Kelsey Mason and scored on a single by Kayla Lancor.

Both teams are going to have a home game in the first round of the playoffs. Hartford (10-6) could be as high as fifth in the Vermont Division II tourney while Windsor (8-7) will finish fifth or sixth in Division III. Pairings for first round games will be announced on Monday, with both teams likely to play on Tuesday.

Windsor also got some solid pitching, as junior Ashlee Bly had to enter in relief of Maria Marsh with just one out in the first inning. She gave up just two runs the rest of the way, and got out of a bases-loaded jam in the seventh.

Woodward threw 106 pitches, 27 in the fourth inning. She finished with five strikeouts and three walks.

Despite the loss, Windsor coach Phil Hathorn thought it was a good test and that his team is in good shape to move into the postseason.

“They hit some balls we should have caught, but we’re in the playoffs,” he said. “If we play our game, we’ll be OK. I’ll have them ready by Tuesday.”

In the Hartford first, Colby Frechette and Jenna Yee had singles and Woodward walked to load the bases with one out. Paige Larmie then singled in Frechette and Yee, and Courtney Murray singled in Woodward. Larmie scored the fourth run of the inning on hit by Paige Childs.

Windsor came back with an unearned run in the first and Hartford scored to make in 5-1 in the second with Yee, who had three hits on the day, scoring on the front end of a double steal. But other than the go-ahead run in the sixth, Bly was tough the rest of the way.

Wood was the only Windsor player to have more than one hit as she also had a single in the third.

Murray joined Yee in the three-hit column and she singled in the first, fifth and seventh innings.

“Ten wins is nice,” said Gervais. “Now it’s off to the playoffs.”