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06/27/2022 12:00 AM

Cougars’ Softball Sees Stellar Season in 2022

Sophomore Ivy McNiel helped the H-K softball team put together an excellent season that featured 20 wins to go along with appearances in the Shoreline semis and state quarterfinals. File photo by Kelley Fryer/The Source

The Haddam-Killingworth softball entered the 2022 season with seven returning starters, all of whom were in their sophomore years. The efforts of those sophomores, combined with the performance of a stalwart junior pitcher and the leadership of two senior captains, helped the Cougars put together an excellent season that saw H-K win 20 games while advancing to the semifinals of the Class M State Tournament.

Haddam-Killingworth finished its spring campaign with an overall record of 20-4, notching a mark of 18-2 for the regular season. The Cougars won their first seven games before dropping a contest against Coginchaug on April 18. After that, H-K went on another long winning streak that saw the team notch eight-consecutive victories.

Among their 20 wins this season, H-K won 15 of those contests by 5 runs or more. The Cougars posted double-digit run totals 10 times, claiming 7 victories via the mercy rule.

On May 20, H-K hosted Morgan for its final matchup of the regular season. The game served as the team’s Senior Night as the Cougars honored their two senior captains, Maddy LaTouche and Audrey Snyder. H-K came away with a 15-1 victory over the Huskies in 5 innings on Senior Night. LaTouche and Snyder received a splendid sendoff by combining for 3 hits, 3 walks, 4 runs scored, and 5 RBI in the win.

Following the regular season, H-K entered the Shoreline Conference as the No. 1 seed. The Cougars started off Shorelines by claiming a 13-3 victory against No. 8 seed East Hampton in a quarterfinal home game on May 23. The big win was highlighted by a 7-run fifth inning that included a 3-run homer from sophomore Brooke Hickman.

The Cougars then faced No. 5 seed North Branford in the semifinals of the Shoreline tourney. H-K took a 5-0 defeat versus the Thunderbirds, who went on to win their seventh-straight conference title.

Haddam-Killingworth finished its season by competing in the Class M State Tournament. As the No. 3 seed, H-K received a bye through the first round of the draw. The Cougars hosted No. 14 seed Wilcox Tech for a second-round contest on June 1 and won the game by a 20-4 score in 5 innings.

H-K scored 15 runs in the first inning en route to its lopsided win over Wilcox Tech in states. The Cougars were led at the plate by sophomore Bella LaTorre, who had 6 RBI; and fellow sophomore Cheyenne LaTouche, who finished with 4 hits and 5 RBI in the victory. Junior Kaleigh Bodak pitched the first 3 innings to get her 15th win of the year for Haddam-Killingworth, striking out 8 of the 9 batters that she retired.

H-K’s next game was a quarterfinal contest against No. 6 seed Oxford at home on June 3. The Cougars took a 7-0 loss to Oxford in their last game of the season.

Bodak was named to the All-Shoreline Conference First Team for her performance this year, marking the second-straight season that she earned All-Conference honors. Sophomore Ivy McNeil was also an All-Shoreline Conference First Team honoree on behalf of Head Coach Jeff Talbott’s squad. Bodak and McNiel were additionally selected to the Class M All-State Team.

Cheyenne LaTouche and fellow sophomore Annabelle Zajac each garnered All-Shoreline Second Team accolades for H-K. Hickman was presented with All-Shoreline Conference Honorable Mention.

Last season, H-K compiled an overall record 16-4, won a game in the Shoreline Conference Tournament, and then reached the second round of the Class S State Tournament. With the team slated to return the bulk of its roster on the heels of an even better season this year, the Cougars are in great shape to enjoy continued success in the 2023 campaign.

The Haddam-Killingworth softball team’s roster features senior captains Maddy LaTouche and Audrey Snyder; junior Kaleigh Bodak; sophomores Keira Czarkowski, Bella Richwine, Annabelle Zajac, Brooke Hickman, Ava Harriman, Cheyenne LeTouche, Bella LaTorre, Ivy McNeil, Julia Mitchell, and Nicolette Hines; and freshmen Caley Napoletano, Hannah Reily, Grace LaConte, and Claire Eighmy.

Junior Kaleigh Bodak earned All-Shoreline Conference accolades for the second-straight campaign after pitching the Cougars to a plethora of victories in 2022. File photo by Kelley Fryer/The Source
Sophomore Cheyenne LaTouche had 4 hits and 5 RBI when H-K claimed a 20-4 victory against Wilcox Tech in the second round of this year’s Class M State Tournament. File photo by Kelley Fryer/The Source
Audrey Snyder led the Cougars in tandem with fellow senior captain Maddy LaTouche during the recent spring season. File photo by Kelley Fryer/The Source