Title train keeps rolling for Masuk’s softball program

The Masuk Panthers have now won six state championships in a row.

STORRS, CT — The top seed Masuk High softball team’s Class L State Championship victory, a 4-0 blanking of No. 2 Ellington, at the University of Connecticut on Saturday night, marks a continuation of dominance dating back several years.

In fact, Coach Leigh Barone’s Panthers have won six straight state titles. No team has been able to stymie Masuk in the state bracket. Only the coronavirus, which wiped out one full spring season of sports, has halted Masuk.

This spring, the Panthers were unbeaten with a South-West Conference Championship along the way. Masuk posted three shutouts en route to earning yet another trophy.

The Panthers had a first-round bye then blanked No. 17 Wethersfield 17-0 and No. 9 Mercy 7-0 before doubling up No. 13 Guilford 4-2 to advance to the pinnacle contest.

In the big game pitcher Julia Bacoulis was dominant in the circle with 13 strikeouts and only allowed one hit, which came from Ellington’s Keyleigh Flaherty in the top of the first inning.

At the plate, Masuk combined some small ball with the long ball to give Bacoulis all the run support she would need — and then some.

The Panthers got on the board in the bottom of the second inning by putting the ball in play and applying pressure on the opposing fielders. Ciena Perpetuo bunted with runners on first and second and Alyssa Castillo scored on a throwing error.

In the bottom of the fourth, Aubrey Zvovushe-Ramos doubled to score Ciena Perpetuo from first.

In the bottom of the fifth, Sofia Lieto singled and Madison Aguirre had a home run to bring the lead to 4-0.

This run of success is quite impressive given the number of players who have come and gone with graduating classes. Maintaining championship ways is not easy given Masuk is on everybody’s radar.

“I think that six is tough to do because everybody wants to be the team to beat us, especially in a State Championship,” Barone said. “However, the experience of being there in past years for the players gives them that advantage because they have been there before. They know what it’s like to win and they want to continue with that tradition.”

“The girls work really hard, not just in the spring season but all year long, in order to continue the winning tradition,” she said. “It really takes a village to be what we have become, starting with all that our parents have done for our athletes in season and out of season, the support of our town, and all of our alumni who have started the winning tradition and continue to support Masuk softball.”

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