Get your popcorn ready !
Livingston will make its first appearance at Nutley since it was robbed in broad daylight of a state championship by a clueless umpire last June 5.
The Lancers dropped a 4-0 decision to Hunterdon Central in the NJSIAA Group 4 semifinal, ending a 28-game winning streak and the team’s hopes of a State championship. (I like to call it the Shack-A-Tano Disaster, not to be confused with the Poseidon Adventure).
I will have much more on the NJSIAA sweeping the appalling umpiring of that home plate bozo in an upcoming expose of an ump who had no right being anywhere near that game, except as a spectator. You’ll read about the state passing the buck with the accuracy of Tom Brady, and ultimately a certain athletic director from Passaic County, who assigned this idiot to the game in the first place and this person avoiding any kind of interview on the subject.
But that’s for another time.
For now, Livingston is back in town, this time for a Super Essex Conference matchup against the Nutley Raiders this Friday, April 5. And when these two meet up, it’s always fun.
Livingston has had the upper hand, for the most part, in the rivalry over the last five years, although the Raiders had a moment in the 2011 Essex County Tournament semifinal when they were all but finished in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Livingston pitcher Jess Peslak was tossing a masterpiece, with 14 strikeouts. Nutley was down to its last out, when Lauren Iradi hit a two-run, seeing-eye single to centerfield to pace a 5-4 victory.
A day later, the Raiders won its first county title in 18 years.
In 2012, Livingston beat Nutley twice in league play, including an extra-inning thriller in early April, at Livingston, when Peslak, then a junior, worked out of a few key jams to ensure a 3-2 win. Peslak would later say that game toughened Livingston up in a big way, toward an eventual 29-1 season.
Point is, these two teams have put together quite a nice rivalry, and with Peslak returning for her senior year, there should be some good games ahead. (There was something special about watching Peslak pitch to Eileen Purcell. I miss those encounters now).
At one point of the 2012 season, Peslak pitched 82 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings. Ironically, the streak started in a game at Nutley on April 27 and ended in that fiasco against Hunterdon Central on June 5.
So who knows what will happen when the Green and White mix it up with the Maroon and White on Nutley’s beautiful turf field this Friday. Maybe Kylie McLaughlin homers to lead off the game for Livingston, or Carly Anderson gets the Raiders off to a good start when she leads off the bottom of the first, then goes pitch-to-pitch with the Secretariat-type Peslak.
Maybe there’s a new hero to add to the intensity of the rivalry. Perhaps it’s Nutley shortstop Stefanie Ziemer who makes the fans forget about Purcell, with a big play that saves a run. Or it’s Livingston shortstop Sammi Rothenberger, who seals the deal with a standout defensive gem, or a key hit.
The best way to find out is by coming out and seeing what should be an interesting matchup.
And get your popcorn ready !