O Captains!: Conley, Schlim Lead New Canaan Softball Past McMahon


After dropping its first two games by a combined 23 runs to Stamford and Trumbull, the New Canaan Rams softball team came into Monday’s game at Brien McMahon High School looking for a spark—something, anything to get the team jump started and turn the young 2015 season around.

They didn’t have to look far or wait long.

The Rams jumped all over the previously unbeaten Senators (2-1; 0-1 FCIAC) from the start, scoring three runs in the first inning and adding four more in the second en route to a 10-0 win, the first of the season for New Canaan (1-2; 1-1 FCIAC).

Junior captain Claire Conley led the offensive attack for New Canaan with a perfect 4-4 performance at the plate. Sophomore Rachel Keshin added three hits and three runs. Twin sister Molly Keshin and freshman Gillian Kane each had two hits for New Canaan in support of senior captain Jamie Schlim, who turned in a stellar performance in the circle, striking out 12 McMahon hitters and surrendering only five hits to earn the shutout victory. Schlim also had two hits and drove in three runs to help her own cause.

“We’re really excited,” Schlim told NewCanaanite.com. “Coming from a tough spring break last week, we had a lot of team goals and we worked really hard on the communication today. We focused on working together and having a positive attitude, and I’m really happy with the outcome.”

The outcome was also pleasing to New Canaan head coach Danielle Simoneau, who was especially impressed with the improvement of New Canaan’s defense which—after a rough start to the season—played error-free softball against the Senators. Simoneau specifically pointed to a couple of positional moves, including flip-flopping Conley and sophomore Molly Rochlin at second and third.

“That was the team that New Canaan plays like,” Simoneau said. “Change is not always welcome the way it was welcomed, and I think it was a positive move. Now they feel what it’s like to be able to play the way we know they’re able to play, and that helps their confidence.”

New Canaan wasted little time getting on the board. Rachel Keshin led off the game with a bunt single, and moved to third on Molly Keshin’s long double to center. After fouling off several pitches, Schlim hit a long fly to center that was misplayed, scoring both Keshins and landing Schlim at second. Conley then drove Schlim home with a hard grounder to right for an RBI single, giving New Canaan a 3-0 lead after one-half inning.

McMahon threatened to score in the bottom of the first as a single and two hit batters loaded the bases with two outs. Schlim was able to work out of trouble by striking out the next hitter to end the threat.

The Rams blew the game open in the second, scoring all four runs of the inning with two outs. Eliza Haney reached on an infield single and promptly stole second. Rachel Keshin then hit a blooper to right that fell in, and when the McMahon throw went out of play, Haney scored to make it 4-0 Rams. Kane lined a single to center to score Keshin, extending the New Canaan lead to 5-0.

The Rams made it 6-0 when Keshin drove a line drive double off the centerfield fence, scoring Kane. Schlim then singled to right, plating Keshin with New Canaan’s seventh run.

“It was huge,” Simoneau said. “Once you even get one run, you can sit back a little bit and just breathe through the game. It keeps the pitcher relaxed—Jamie was able to just throw her game and be done.”

Schlim was nothing less than dominant, allowing only one runner to reach second base for the rest of the game. Meanwhile, New Canaan’s offense piled on three more runs in the top of the sixth, as Rachel Keshin and Kane led off the inning with back-to-back singles. Molly Keshin then drove her sister home with an RBI ground out, and Kane scored after a dropped third strike allowed Schlim to reach first, making it 9-0 New Canaan. Conley then launched a triple to right-center, scoring Schlim with the final run of the game.

“Once we get together, we realize that we want to be a team, we want to work together,” Conley said. “We know that if you’re a team, you can win.”

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