Oh ‘K’! Kane, Keshin Lead Rams Softball over the Hilltoppers

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After a cold and dreary home opener back on Friday, the New Canaan Rams softball team stepped back onto Orchard Field Wednesday, this time under the bright sunshine.

And the sun wasn’t the only thing that shined on the field.

Freshman pitcher Gillian Kane struck out 13 batters and allowed zero earned runs while sophomore shortstop Rachel Keshin went 5-for-5 at the plate, leading New Canaan (2-2; 2-1 FCIAC) to a 13-6 victory over Bridgeport Central (1-5, 0-3 FCIAC).

After retiring the Central side in order in the top of the 1st, Kane helped herself early with some offense. With Keshin on base after a leadoff single, Kane ripped a pitch down the right field line for a home run and a quick 2-0 Rams lead.

“When I got up there, I didn’t think about hitting a home run,” Kane told NewCanaanite.com. “I just thought about putting the bat on the ball and making contact—but that was pretty great.”

Four batters later—without the courtesy of a hit—the Rams had the bases loaded and one out. Sophomore Gabriella Sulpizi stepped to the plate and roped a single into center, scoring sophomore Molly Keshin for a 3-0 lead. Sophomore Sophia Welch followed that with a long sacrifice fly to center, scoring senior co-captain Jamie Schlim. The ninth batter of the inning, sophomore Eliza Haney, kept the rally going with a single to right that plated classmate Molly Rochlin for a 5-0 lead.

Having batted around, Rachel Keshin came up to the plate again and drove Sulpizi home with an RBI single, her second hit of the inning. Two batters later Molly Keshin towered a double to left-center that cleared the bases for a 9-0 Rams lead.

That was all Kane would need to secure the ‘W.’

She cruised through the 2nd-4th innings, striking out six during that span and facing just three over the minimum. Even with Central scoring an unearned run in the 4th, Kane had not allowed a hit through four.

In the bottom of the 4th, after already adding another single and RBI back in the 2nd, Rachel Keshin came up with the bases loaded and two down. She then smacked another single to center for her fourth hit and third RBI of the afternoon, putting the Rams ahead 11-1.

To their credit, the Hilltoppers would not lay down.

In the top of the 5th inning, Central sent 10 batters to the plate leading to five unearned runs being scored—all with two outs—narrowing New Canaan’s lead to 11-6.

With Coach Simoneau having two-thirds of the defense being played by her second unit, it was an inning that got Central back within striking distance. Even so, it was also one that the unit learned from and didn’t allow to occur twice, as Central was held scoreless for the rest of the contest.

The Rams’ final runs came in the bottom of the 6th, as Rachel Keshin knocked home two runners with 2 outs in the inning, capping her stat line at 5-for-5 with 5 RBI and 2 runs scored.

“It was nice to have a day like that,” Keshin told NewCanaanite.com. “I obviously didn’t start off great this season. I went 1-6 [in the first two games]. [So] it was really nice to just get out there and help my team.”

Kane came back out for the 7th to secure the victory, capping off her afternoon in style by striking out the side in order.

“Gillian did well,” Simoneau said. “She just has to work on moving the ball a little more and hitting her spots, but she did a good job.”

New Canaan will look to extend their win streak to three on Friday April 17th at Orchard Field as they take on Woodland in a non-conference matchup.

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