It has been feast or famine for the Southington softball team this season.
"When we're together, we're together," Wildcats coach Lorrie Dietz said. "When we're off, we're off. When we've lost, we've been our own worst enemy."
A landmark victory on Monday might signal Southington is preparing to get together again and enter the Division IV sectional-district tournament at Candlelite Knolls with some momentum.
The Wildcats beat visiting Pymatuning Valley, 3-1, behind junior pitcher Amber Dietz, who allowed just two hits and struck out 11 in the Northeastern Athletic Conference matchup.
"Beating PV was a big, big win," Lorrie Dietz said. "We hadn't beaten them in a long time."
PV scored its lone run in the top of the first inning and Amber Dietz shut out the Lakers the rest of the way.
The Wildcats' senior leadership comes from the quintet of Becca Wolke (center field), Chelsea Davis (second base), Hallie Baugher (shortstop), Kaleigh Kistler (third base) and Jenna Calhoun (right field). Wolke is Southington's top hitter at .488.
And, of course, Amber Dietz's pitching - she averages 10 strikeouts - doesn't hurt.
"We had good hitting and good defense against PV," Lorrie Dietz said. "We hit Sarah Urchek, which was big for us."
Wilson, Davis and Calhoun all had doubles against the Lakers. Urchek struck out 11 and walked only one, but allowed two runs in the bottom of the second and another in the sixth.
That was enough for Amber Dietz.
"She's kept us in most of the games," Lorrie Dietz said.
Southington is now 8-8 overall and 7-6 in the NAC. The Wildcats will open tournament play against NAC rival Maplewood next week. Lorrie Dietz said the Rockets won a regular-season matchup by scoring in the seventh inning.
"It should be a good game again," she said. "They have a good pitcher in Brooke Dawson."
Dawson is a sophomore left-hander.
Southington visits Lordstown today.
SPEAKING OF DAWSON: Maplewood's top pitcher threw a three-hitter and struck out eight in the Rockets' 7-0 victory over Lordstown on Monday.
The sophomore helped her own cause with two hits and three RBIs.
BACKYARD RIVALS: Champion improved to 12-1 overall and 6-0 in the All-American Conference's National Division with a 5-1 victory in Newton Falls on Monday. Lindsay Swipas struck out 18 and allowed four hits.
The teams are scheduled to meet again at 5 today at Champion.
Golden Flashes coach Cheryl Weaver said this is a critical week because of the back-to-back games against the Tigers and scheduled home games against Girard on Thursday and Lakeview on Saturday.
Champion was supposed to complete its league schedule against Liberty next Thursday, but that game will be rescheduled because the Golden Flashes have a Division II sectional game that night.
AROUND THE HORN: Mineral Ridge's Garland sisters played major roles in a 7-3 win over United on Monday. Meghan struck out 13 and scattered five hits for the victory, which went nine innings. McKenzie hit a three-run homer in the Rams' six-run ninth. ... Lakeview's Alyssa Nicholas blasted her team-leading eighth home run in a 6-2 victory over Struthers on Monday. Alexis Neumeister struck out 14 and took a shutout into the seventh inning. The Bulldogs are 15-3.