Fairfield Ludlowe softball wins third consecutive FCIAC title (By Will Aldam of GameTimeCT)
Saint Joseph 0, Fairfield Ludlowe 2
Fairfield, CT — The FCIAC still belongs to Fairfield Ludlowe softball. Ludlowe was crowned conference champion for the third year in a row on Thursday after defeating St. Joseph 2-0 behind a combined shutout from junior starting pitcher Alex Lewey and senior reliever Anna Gedacht. "This is a special team," Ludlowe coach Lou Bunosso said. "Three in a row, it is going to be hard to duplicate this ever again. I am so proud of them." Lewey, who has earned the win in all three of the last FCIAC title games, pitched 5.1 innings. She allowed four hits and issued two walks while striking out four to earn MVP honors. "I was just playing for my seniors," Lewey said. "We have seven of them and this is their last round, so I wanted to make sure it was good for them. Thank god we won, I am really happy." Anna Gedacht entered for Lewey with one out and runners on the corners in the top of the sixth inning with a 1-0 lead. The first batter she faced reached on a fielder's choice to load the bases. Gedacht proceeded to strike out the next two batters to maintain the Ludlowe lead. "I put Anna (Gedacht) in tough spots all the time," Bunosso said. "I carried Alex (Lewey) out there a little longer than normal and brought (Gedacht) in in a tough spot, but she always seems to perform when it matters most." Ludlowe's first run came on a fifth inning sacrifice fly off the bat of Lewey to score Rosanna Merturi. Ludlowe struck again in the bottom of the sixth as Della Jackson led off the inning with a triple and was driven in on a single by Chelsea Villar. "An umpire came up to me the other day and was like, 'wow, you guys always save it until the last inning,'" Gedacht said. "We like to keep it interesting, but I can always count on my offense to keep us in the game." Gedacht notched the save, allowing a two-out single in the seventh before inducing a pop up to Ludlowe second baseman Lauren Foley for the final out. The shutout is made more important by the fact that when St. Joseph and Ludlowe met twice in the regular season, both games were high scoring. St. Joseph had won the first meeting 9-8, while Ludlowe won the second 8-7. St. Joseph was also the team that Ludlowe began its FCIAC championship winning streak against back in 2021. "I am feeling great, defense and pitching, I guess that is the new Ludlowe way," Bunosso said. "Compared to two years ago when we were hitting and hitting and hitting. My pitching staff has been fantastic all year. To come back after letting St. Joseph score nine against us in one (regular season) game and seven in the second (regular season game), to shut them out with that lineup, I am very proud of Alex (Lewey) and Anna (Gedacht). They were tremendous today." St. Joseph, despite losing, exited the loss with heads held high. Freshman pitcher Katie Dzialo impressed, pitching all six innings and allowing one earned run on four hits with no walks and one strikeout. "When you are going to play a team of that caliber, you can't make mistakes," St. Joseph coach Jeff Babineau said. "Katie (Dzialo) pitched a phenomenal game and held down a very powerful team. We had opportunities, but at this stage you have to learn how to produce at a different level. We will hopefully learn from it and make some noise in states." While Ludlowe has seven seniors on its roster, St. Joseph only has three. All three (Niamh Dougherty, Riley McDermott and Coco Bartone) got a hit on Thursday. "The future is bright," Babineau said. "We have good talent, but they have to learn to mature quickly to play this type of game. Ludlowe is totally the opposite of us with seven seniors, a very mature team. I think that was the difference today." St. Joseph will look to rebound as the No. 7 seed in the Class L state tournament. Fairfield Ludlowe has one more hurdle to climb, and will look to do so beginning next week in the Class LL state tournament. Ludlowe lost in the championship two years ago and was eliminated in the semifinals last year. The Falcons will enter as the No. 2 seed this year. LUDLOWE 2, ST. JOSEPH 0 ST. JOSEPH 000 000 0 – 0 5 1 LUDLOWE 000 011 x – 2 4 0 Batteries: L – Alex Lewey (W), Anna Gedacht (6, SV) and Allie Tournas. M – Katie Dzialo (L) and Kelsea Flanagan. Records: Ludlowe 22-1, St. Joseph 17-6.