Essex Softball: Updated Top 10 as NJSIAA Tourney nears; one more cheer for Secretariat, Seattle Slew, Dr. Sammi and Princess Jazzy, along with a great group of Lions

A wonderfully played Essex County Tournament concluded last Saturday night with a game for the ages as Livingston rallied from 3-0 and 4-2 down to edge Mount St. Dominic, 5-4, for its second straight championship and fifth overall.

The Lancers, who remain No. 1 in the FMTC’s Top 10, will  now gear for the NJSIAA Tournament, as will the other teams in the county. The tourney starts on May 21 and continues on May 23. For those teams which win both of those contests, there’s more softball after the Memorial Day weekend.

The season will wind down with sectional championships to be decided next week, followed by the state semifinals and ultimately, the Group championships on June 8 in Toms River.

There’s a few exciting weeks left in the 2013 softball season. With the league and county stuff now completed, here’s a final congrats to Livingston on defending its crown, which is never easy, especially against a quality opponent in Mount St. Dominic in the championship game.

Livingston showed its mettle with Jess Peslak, Sammi Rothenberger, Jazzy Pignatello, Rachel Wasilak, Marina Lombardi, Alexa Altcheck and Kylie McLaughlin, among others, coming through when it counted most.

It was Princess Jazzy with a huge effort in the quarterfinals and then crushing a 3-run homer in the ECT semi, Dr. Sammi’s homer in the semi that will soon reach legendary status in future conversations, Seattle Slew’s (McLaughlin) lead off homer in the semi and Peslak’s pitching in both games and the winning hit in the title game at Ivy Hill that keeps Secretariat among the best.

Princess-Jasmine-Wallpaper-disney-princess-6538269-1024-768Princess Jazzy Pignatello and her Lancers won another ECT title against a tremendous opponent in Mount St. Dominic.

Also, thanks to Mount St. Dominic for showing all of us the way the game should always be played. Gabby Lombardi displayed true toughness after being hit with a bad hop grounder in the mouth in the semifinals, then getting plunked by a pitch in the first inning of the finals. Gabby had a tremendous game in the championship tilt.

glWho’s behind those Foster Grants? It’s MSDA’s Gabby Lombardi, who’s as tough as they come. (Thanks to the Lombardi family for this photo).

Let’s not forget Gabby Castelli of Cedar Grove for her tremendous pitching. She’s now won over 70 games in her varsity career and will go after a third straight state sectional crown. She’s also a county champion, having led the 2010 Panthers to a shutout win in the final.

castelli 2Gabby Castelli hopes to win another state sectional title. She has 70 career wins heading into this week’s action.

Bloomfield’s ascent to a possible 20 win season, led by some wonderful players in Jenna Orlando, Damariz Mercado, Debbie Mazzeo, Tina Spithogiannis, Victoria Ross and Stephanie Mancuso, should never be overlooked. The Bengals could get another opportunity to play Livingston in the sectional semifinals next week.

bloom 2Damariz Mercado and her Bloomfield teammates are hoping to make a big run in the NJSIAA tourney.

Thanks to all the Final Four teams in the ECT and congrats to the parents who supported their daughters throughout the tough tournament for being there. Your enthusiasm and excitement go a long way in helping the kids reach their goals and feeling great about themselves.

Here’s the updated Top 10.

1-Livingston (21-3)

2-Mount St. Dominic (21-6)

3-Nutley (20-6)

4-Cedar Grove (14-9)

5-Bloomfield (19-5)

6-Newark Academy (18-6)

7-Caldwell (12-11)

8-West Essex (10-14)

9-Glen Ridge (13-10)

10-Montclair Kimberley (11-10)

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By mike051893

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