The 2013 scholastic softball season will end in less than two weeks. And, really, the season can end on any day for the remaining teams still in the hunt for a NJSIAA sectional title.
Heading into the state games of May 28, Livingston, Mount St. Dominic Academy, Nutley, West Essex, Newark Academy and Montclair Kimberley Academy were the teams from Essex County still in the mix for a title.
Livingston, the top seed in North Jersey, Section 1, Group 4 and that section’s defending champ, will host Clifton in a sectional semifinal. The Lancers haven’t played since defeating Bergen Tech on May 22. Nutley, which last won a section in 2010, will visit West Morris Central in a North Jersey, Section 2, Group 3 semifinal in Long Valley. The Raiders put themselves in that position with a solid 3-0 victory over South Plainfield last Sunday.
West Essex is going after its first sectional crown since 2010 when it visits old-time rival Hanover Park in a semifinal. The Knights had a crazy game with Hackettstown last Sunday, winning in extra innings, 4-3.
The Non Publics will also get busy starting on May 28. The Lions of Mount St. Dominic will take on Union Catholic on the 28th and with a win, would face the winner of Paramus Catholic-Holy Angels three days later in a Non-Public A semifinal.
In Non-Public B, Newark Academy faces Morris Catholic on May 28 and, with a win, would take on the Hudson Catholic-Oak Knoll victor on May 31. Montclair Kimberley is home to Eastern Christian on the 28th and if it prevails, visits top-seeded Lodi Immaculate on the 3st.
The last Essex County team to appear in a Group championship game was Nutley in 2010.
Here’s the updated FMTC top 10.
1-Livingston (23-3): Lancers have won 17 straight heading into Tuesday’s sectional semifinal game with Clifton.
2-Mount St. Dominic (23-6): Lions could face IHA in a tremendous North Non-Public A final.
3-Nutley (22-6): Luann Zullo’s best coaching job with a very young Raiders team.
4-Newark Academy (20-7): Minutemen are primed for a run in Non-Public B.
5-Cedar Grove (15-9): Team lost more than its share of heart breakers, including state loss to New Milford.
6-Bloomfield (19-7): Good season for Bengals, which won SEC Liberty Division and advanced to ECT semis.
7-Caldwell (14-12): Chiefs ended season well, lost tough game to Rutherford in sectional quarterfinals.
8-West Essex (12-14): Knights still in the running in state sectionals. Will visit Hanover Park next.
9-Montclair (7-17): Mounties ended season playing better and will look to 2014.
10-Montclair Kimberley (12-11): MKA hopes to relive the glory of its past in Non-Public B.