Perfection is the goal of nearly every sports team that takes the field, but it’s a feat rarely accomplished.
The Southington Lightning 12U girls softball team defied the odds.
The Lightning capped off a perfect summer last weekend by winning the Triple Crown National Championship in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Hitting .424 as a team, the Lightning went 6-0 at Myrtle Beach, winning the final game against Virginia 2-1.
“I was told by the Triple Crown tournament director that they never had a Connecticut team win their national tournament,” Lightning coach John Zazzaro said. “We didn’t expect to win. We just went down there to compete and do our best. The girls were amazing. We had contributions up and down the roster. Someone came up big in every day.”
The squad finished the travel season with a spotless 49-0-2 mark that included eight PONY titles as well as the national crown.
“To go undefeated, especially in softball, where anything can happen, is special,” Zazzaro said. “There are a lot of top travel softball teams around the state, but this team had a historic year.”
Zazzaro said the Lightning were strong in every facet of the game. They hit well over .400 for the season. The only non-wins for the Lightning were ties that took place during timed pool play games at tournaments.
The Lightning were 9-for-9 in 12U tournaments from late April through to the nationals last week.
“We never lost; it’s unheard of,” Zazzaro said. “We beat teams up and down the East Coast. It was quite a summer. Winning sure made the 14-hour drive a lot easier.”
The coach added that 10 of the 11 girls live in Southington. That’s unusual. Travel teams usually draw players from multiple towns. Michelle Cohen is the only non-resident on the Lightning and she lives just over the border in Berlin.
“All of the teams we played were stunned that we were basically a town team,” Zazzaro said. “I take a ton of pride that these are almost all Southington kids. The Southington Girls Softball League does a great job developing these girls. The coaching at that level is very strong.”
Zazzaro said all 11 girls on the Lightning will stay together for the 13U team next year.
Members of the team were DH Mikaela June, CF Devon Cunningham, SS Janette Wadolowski, P Kara Zazzaro, 1B/C Sarah Minkiewicz, 2B MacKenzie Beaupre, 3B Katelyn Ierardi, C Michelle Cohen, RF Julia Groll and LF Nolyn Allen.
First baseman Frankie Ferrante was also on the team, but couldn’t make the trip to South Carolina.
The coaches included Zazzaro, Keith Beaupre, Rich Wadolowski, Jim Ferrante and Kendra Cunningham.