By MIKE SMITH
On July 22, the Total KAOS 16u Blue team won the Amateur Softball Association Connecticut State Championship, beating the Branford Hornets 1-0 in a hotly contested extra-inning affair held in Southington, Conn.
The game, a 0-0 pitchers duel, was decided under international tie-break rules, which state that, upon reaching extra innings, the final out from the previous inning will start on second base at the top of the next frame. After KAOS, who were the home team, foiled the Hornets attempts to score in the top of the eighth, they started the bottom half with Mahopac infielder Mary Hunt on second base with the team’s three-hitter, pitcher Diana King, at the plate. King moved Hunt to third with a sac bunt, and, in the next at-bat, shortstop Kimi Chiapparelli drove in the game-winner with a sac fly to center.
Coach Brian Hunt‑Mary’s father‑has been with the program for a decade, and said that the chance to have players like Chiapparelli and King–who are standouts at Mamaroneck and Rye Neck, respectively–do the “little things,” like moving runners over, that help a team win games and will be important to their growth as ballplayers.
“I told Diana before she got up there that if she got the bunt down, we were winning this game,” Hunt said. “When you put star players like we have in positions where they have to perform under pressure, that’s only going to help in the long run.”
Hunt said that the chance to play teams stocked with elite player from top-to-bottom is also a chance for pitchers–including King–to elevate their games.
“During the high school season, Diana can get away with throwing fastballs and be fine,” he said. “But I believe in working in the change-up against these hitters because you can’t throw the ball by everybody.”
The tournament was the last of the summer for the team, and, according to the head coach, a state title was certainly a fitting end to a season that saw the ball club reach many tournament semifinals. The program’s 18u squad is headed down to North Carolina this weekend to play in the Pony Fastpitch Softball national tournament that will feature top teams from all over the country.
“We had a very, very good summer,” said Hunt. “As I said to the kids after the game, this is a team game. Everybody had to be involved; everybody had to make plays. That’s what you have to do to win, and it was a great team win.”