Livingston softball standouts Jess Peslak and Kylie McLaughlin will be among a group of standout student-athletes who will be honored by the Men of Essex on May 15.
Peslak, a senior pitcher and McLaughlin, a junior outfielder, were both first team, Star-Ledger All State players in 2012 who led Livingston to a 29-1 record, including a NJSIAA, North Jersey, Section 1, Group 4 crown as well as the Essex County Tournament (ECT) and Super Essex Conference (SEC) championship. The two have been key to Livingston’s 12-3 start this season, as the Lancers are among the favorites to win a second straight SEC and ECT championship.
Peslak’s 2012 campaign was one for the ages. She finished 26-1 with a 0.32 ERA while leading Livingston to arguably its best season in the program’s history. Peslak fanned 307 in 175 2/3 innings of work while walking 37.
She also spun 19 shutouts, including five-no hitters and nine one-hitters. Peslak fanned a season high 17 in a win over West Essex in the Essex County Tournament semifinals and recorded double figures in strikeouts 20 times. She didn’t allow a run in four Essex County Tournament starts.
McLaughlin is the the catalyst to Livingston’s offense. A leadoff batter, she made a big impact in her first varsity season last spring, hitting .486 with a team-leading 51 hits, eight triples and four homers. She also led team with 30 stolen bases while driving in 13. (It may also be noted that today is her 17th birthday as she’ll lead Livingston in an independent game at Edison).
According to a letter sent by Livingston athletic director Patrick Genova to the parents of the recipients, the Men of Essex is an Afro American group of men who have been honoring the best of the best scholar-athletes in Essex County for the past 55 years. The majority of students who are recognized are seniors, but sometimes juniors, like McLaughlin, are also chosen for their outstanding accomplishments.
The dinner will be held on Wednesday, May 15, at the Newark Airport Marriott.
The Men of Essex are also proud that four-time United States Olympian and Columbia High School graduate Joetta Clark-Diggs will be the guest speaker at the dinner.
The dinner will recognize students in three categories, National Achievement Finalists, Outstanding Athletic Achievement and Scholar-Athletes. Additionally, the night is culminated by the organization’s biggest accolade, the Essex Award, which Peslak will receive. She is the third from Livingston to gain the honor and the first LHS female so honored.
Other Livingston student-athletes to be honored on May 15 include Jonathan Garfinkel (ice hockey), Jamie Schneck (volleyball), Brianna Valese (fencing), Spencer Luster (tennis) and Jason Estevez (wrestling).