DANBURY -- Danbury softball coach Harry Trohalis didn't wait for a question to launch into the only answer the eighth-seeded Hatters needed one game into their stay in the Class LL state tournament.
"Orr, Orr and Orr. There you go," offered Trohalis. "She's been hitting and she pitched phenomonal. She dominated today."
Indeed, all Hatters junior right-hander Kara Orr did in Tuesday afternoon's 1-0 win over FCIAC rival and No. 25 Ridgefield was produce the game's two hardest-struck balls at the plate, swiftly stop rallies from even thinking of happening with a devastating rising heater on the mound, and drive home the game's only run with a two-out, sixth-inning triple that sliced through a wall of wind which had gobbled up most everything else of a higher trajectory.
Of course, Orr might have already supplied the only offense needed in the first inning when she drove a ball home-run distance to left-center, where the Hatters' home field is unfortunately without a fence.
Despite hearty circling by Trohalis from the third base coach's box, Orr second-guessed herself rounding second and was thrown out by a good distance at third. She wouldn't miss her chance to atone in the sixth, however, when Kristy Trotta started a two-out rally with a slap single to short, followed by an easy steal of second base.
"I didn't know if I should go (for third base) and I hesitated," said Orr, who punctuated her three-hit gem by striking out the side in the seventh to raise her total to nine. "I saw (Kristy) there at second and I thought, "All right, this is my chance to get her in.'"
Ridgefield's Emily Spicci was nearly as stellar albeit with slightly more contact allowed. The senior righty scattered five hits and walked none in 5 2/3 innings pitched. Another senior, Amelia Romero, stranded Orr at third to end the sixth, but the damage was done. The Tigers managed to create some traffic behind Orr with slaps and bunts but ultimately failed to record a clutch hit, just as their regular-season meeting with Danbury -- a 6-1 defeat -- had lacked.
"This was the best Emily pitched all year," said Tigers coach Pam Mazzarella. "You get into the state tournament and it's going to be like this. It comes down to which team capitalizes on the first opportunity or the first mistake. Sometimes they're the same thing.
"(Orr's) a strong pitcher," Mazzarella added. "She's got command of her pitches and she moves it around."
The Hatters (15-6) advanced to meet another FCIAC foe, No. 9 Fairfield Ludlowe, a 4-1 winner over No. 24 Simsbury Tuesday, in the second round Wednesday, again set for a 4 p.m. start at Danbury High.
RIDGEFIELD 000 000 0 -- 0 3 0
DANBURY 000 001 X -- 1 5 1
2B: Orr (D). 3B: Orr (D). RBI: D -- Orr.