Monroe, CT — For the second season in a row, No. 3 Fairfield Ludlowe softball has defeated No. 2 Masuk in the regular season. Ludlowe (2-0) jumped out to a first inning lead on a solo home run by senior center fielder Chelsea Villar, then held on for a 2-1 win. Villar also homered in Ludlowe's season-opening victory over Waterford. "She is on right now," Ludlowe coach Lou Bunosso said. "She is seeing the ball really well, so she hit a home run in our first game and started the whole thing today. I think it was really important for us to get an early lead and I think as the captain of our team, Chelsea really battled in that at bat and that run was big." Villar, a 2022 GameTimeCT second team All-State selection, went 2-for-2 with two walks, an RBI and both runs scored. Her fellow All-State selection, Alex Lewey, earned the win pitching 4 2/3 innings, allowing one earned run on three hits and one walk while striking out six. "I have really been focusing on my mentality," Villar said. "I think it all has to do with the team you have around you and the energy that they come in with. It just gives you confidence with the bat, and you know when you go up there that they all have your back behind you is definitely helpful for staying in the box and being who you are." Anna Gedacht earned the save, closing out the remaining 2 1/3 innings, allowing two hits and one walk while striking out four. Ludlowe extended its lead to 2-0 in the top of the third inning, as Villar walked and came around to score on an error. Masuk (1-1) responded in the bottom half of the third as Alyssa Castillo doubled to lead off the frame and came around to score on a sacrifice bunt. The Panthers nearly mounted a comeback in the bottom of the seventh, loading the bases with two outs before Gedacht was able to induce a ground ball to second base, which tipped of the fielders glove perfectly to shortstop Elena Ohe, who stepped on the second base bag for the final out. "That was a really tough game, the weather was horrible," Bunosso said. "It was not a good day to hit, as you can see, both teams had a tough time getting things going. Masuk is a very strong program, I knew it was going to be a tough game. We left 10 on base, and Julia (Bacoulis) pitched really well for Masuk. She kept them in the game and our pitchers did what they had to do again." Bacoulis, the new sophomore ace for Masuk, pitched the complete game, allowing one earned run on four hits and six walks while striking out 11. Catcher Izzy Viglione and Castillo both went 2-for-3 at the plate. Masuk coach Leigh Barone, who recently gave birth, was not at the game. The team was led by assistant coach Emily Woznick. Last year when Ludlowe defeated Masuk, it came with a cost. In her first at bat, Ohe, a Yale commit, broke her wrist when she was hit by a pitch. This year Ludlowe came away unscathed. "I feel like it is a similar feeling, probably not quite the same, especially because we still have Elena (Ohe), thank god," Villar said. "Especially because last year we were playing that game for her. This game was just kind of to get us going, it is definitely exciting to come out 2-0 regardless of who we are playing." For Ludlowe, which has been eliminated in the Class LL tournament by No. 1 Southington in the last two seasons (including a walk-off in the 2021 state championship game), there is only one hurdle left. "We are putting a lot of pressure on them this year because we do have seven seniors and we have our entire starting nine back," Bunosso said. "Our goal is the state championship. That is our goal, and we have been right there two years in a row. We are putting all our marbles on the table." LUDLOWE 2, MASUK 1 LUDLOWE 101 000 0 – 2 4 0 MASUK. 001 000 0 – 1 5 3 Batteries: L – Alex Lewey, Anna Gedacht (5) and Allie Tournas. M – Julia Bacoulis and Izzy Viglione. HRs: L – Chelsea Villar (2) Records: Ludlowe 2-0, Masuk 1-1.