Jess Peslak was sporting ice packs on the back of both her legs shortly after her Livingston Lancers had downed a very good Mount St. Dominic team, 9-2, on April 8 in Livingston.
A momentary distressed look on her face was quickly replaced by that perpetual smile which usually comes after a quality win, especially against a respected opponent in the Mount.
“They’re a big rival,” Peslak said after pitching six innings with 10 strikeouts, scattering six hits and not allowing an earned run to the Lions. “I didn’t hydrate as much as I should have, especially after yesterday’s game, and my legs tightened up a little later in the game. I didn’t want to come out, I wanted to push myself and see what my limits were.”
As for the multiple ice packs, the senior righty had a quick answer.
“It’s a fashion statement,” she said with a laugh. “But don’t take any pictures !”
Peslak got plenty of offensive support on Monday. Kylie McLaughlin belted a pair of opposite field homers and drove in five runs. The bottom of the Livingston lineup was especially effective as Alexa Altcheck and Marina Lombardi had three hits each. Altcheck had three singles, a RBI and scored twice. Lombardi hit a double and singled twice while driving in two.
For Lombardi, the hitting parade had started a day earlier when she drilled a key RBI double in the bottom of the sixth as Livingston blanked St. John Vianney, 1-0, at the IHA Tournament. Peslak pitched a complete game two-hitter that day against one of the better teams in the state, and coming back on less than 24 hours rest to face a potent Mount St. Dominic team wore her down a little by the sixth inning.
The key at-bat of the game came from junior Katie Horiuchi, in the bottom of the fourth inning. Livingston led, 3-1, with two outs when Horiuchi drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch, after fouling off four pitches, to set the stage for the first of McLaughlin’s home runs.
“I knew it was an important moment,” said Horiuci, who missed all of last season with an injury. “I was confident if I could get on and keep the inning going that Kylee would get the job done.”
As for McLaughlin’s heroics at the top of the lineup, Livingston coach Jason Daily felt his junior centerfielder and 2012 All-State player, is starting to come around.
“She’s been hitting well, but not getting a lot of results, until today,” Daily said. “But she knows what she’s doing out there. It was good to see her get it going today.”
Livingston improved to 4-1 on the season while Mount St. Dominic fell to 4-1. The Lions battled Peslak throughout the game, with Ashley Kowalski collecting two hits and reaching base three times. Kowalski also scored a run while Bria Bartsch also had a hit and later scored.
Starting pitcher Olivia Gemma gave way to Sam Platt, who pitched the last 3 1/3 innings.
The two teams will meet again later this season, and will probably also meet up somewhere in the Essex County Tournament. Last year, a third meeting between the two was in the county final, which Livingston won, 2-0.
This is just the beginning of a busy week for both teams. Livingston faces Newark Academy on April 9, then takes on Caldwell the following day. On Saturday, the Lancers will play IHA and later, Caravel Academy of Delaware at the Mount St. Dominic Tournament.
Mount St. Dominic takes on up-and-coming West Essex on April 10, then has a big game with arch rival Cedar Grove on April 12 before facing Pequannock and Pennsbury on Saturday at their tournament.