She may be a freshman pitcher with two varsity starts to her credit, but West Essex’s Samantha Huetter is quickly making a name for herself in the rugged Super Essex Conference.
Huetter spun a two-hit shutout against one of the more potent hitting teams in the SEC, Nutley, at the Raiders’ home field on April 9. She struck out two and walked three, including a pair of walks in the first inning. At one point, she retired 16 of 17 batters and 19 of 21, including 10 in a row from the first through the fourth inning before a routine pop up landed in no-man’s land, between the catcher and pitcher, with two outs, for Nutley’s first hit. Nutley’s other hit came with two outs in the sixth inning, a sharp line drive to centerfield.
“I knew Nutley can hit,” said Huetter. “I’ve played with some of their girls in summer ball, so I kind of had an idea of what to do to keep them off balance. They’re a really good team, but I also knew that if I threw strikes, my teammates in the field would do the job.”
West Essex’s defense was especially impressive and while the Knights collected just five hits off Carly Anderson, West Essex made pretty good contact throughout the game.
“We’re pretty young, but the kids are gaining confidence,” said West Essex coach Andrea Mondadori. “Sammi did a nice job today against a tough team. We haven’t had much success against them recently. You know how it is in this league. Each game is a grind. This was a good win, but we’ve got a busy weekend coming up, so it will be time to get back to work soon.”
It was West Essex’s first win against Nutley since April, 2010. Nutley (2-1 this year) had won the last six meetings and swept the series with the Knights from 2011-2013.
While it’s probably too early to tag the proverbial ‘stud’ name to Huetter, (Canonero II comes to mind right away), it is safe to say she’s a composed righty who has good velocity and throws, in essence, a very heavy pitch that is difficult for hitters to pull.
“She’s good,” said Nutley coach Luann Zullo of Huetter. “We weren’t as aggressive as I would have liked today, but give West Essex all the credit. They came here and played really well.”
Monica Onorata, a junior shortstop and West Essex’s lead off hitter, had two hits and scored a pair of runs. She was also outstanding on defense as West Essex improved to 2-1.
Bridget Betley, a freshman, hit a big two-run single in the sixth which extended West Essex’s lead to 4-0. Betley had three RBI in the game while Huetter drove in a run in the second when she walked with the bases loaded.
Anderson pitched pretty well. She struck out seven and walked six, which is a high number of passes for the junior righty.
“It’s one game, and we’ll be back,” said Zullo. “We didn’t create enough opportunities today to win.”
Livingston improved to 38-1 in Super Essex Conference and Essex County Tournament play since 2012 with a 7-2 victory over Mount St. Dominic on April 9, in Caldwell.
It was the seventh straight win for Livingston over its toughest rival. The teams met three times each in 2012 and 2013, including a pair of ECT championship games. Chances are good they’ll probably meet up again sometime in the 2014 county tournament, and there will be a second conference meeting, at Livingston, later this season, between the two.
Livingston, the No. 1 team in the FMTC Top 10, improved to 4-0 overall this season while No. 2 Mount St. Dominic fell to 4-1.
“I thought our kids played really well today,” said Livingston coach Jason Daily. “We played solid defense and came through with timely hitting. Sammi Passeri is doing a nice job, as well. She really matured as a pitcher today against a very good team.”
Livingston took control quickly, scoring twice in the first inning when Kylie McLaughlin singled and scored on a two-run homer by Sammi Rothenberger (the new Riva Ridge).
“I thought that set the tone,” said Daily. “Sammi hit a nice shot off a real good pitcher in (MSD freshman) Kelsey Oh. And let me tell you, Kelsey can really bring it. She’s something special in the circle.”
Leading 3-1, Livingston picked up a two big runs in the fourth inning, and it came with two outs. Cate Leu beat out an infield single, stole second and scored on a clutch double by Blake Saperstein. Seattle Slew followed with a single which scored Saperstein, making it 5-1.
“Cate getting on base was huge,” said Daily. “And Blake stepped up with a big time double.”