If this were the 1970s and you heard that Canonero II would be racing Seattle Slew and Riva Ridge in a match race, you’d think, ‘wow’…
Obviously, it’s a little past that era, but the studs will be on display this afternoon in North Caldwell when Livingston, led by Kylie McLaughlin (Seattle Slew) and Sammi Rothenberger (Riva Ridge) take on up-and-coming West Essex, which has an outstanding pitcher in Sami Huetter (Canonero II), along with a balanced attack of youngsters and experienced varsity players.
And while I like to kid around about teams with stud players and attach a horse name to them, bottom line is this is a really interesting matchup between two outstanding teams. When they met in the season opener on April 1, at Livingston, the Lancers prevailed, 9-1.
But Livingston coach Jason Daily knows full well how good West Essex has gotten since that game. The Knights haven’t lost to an Essex County-based team, since, and have garnered the third seed for the upcoming Essex County Tournament. West Essex, coached by Andrea Mondadori, is 8-3 while Livingston is 9-2, including a mind-boggling 42-1 record against Essex County teams since the start of the 2012 season.
42-1? That’s almost unheard of, especially considering the level of talent in the Super Essex Conference’s American Division.
West Essex may not have that gaudy a record, but it has won six straight this season, beginning with a win over April 13, when the Knights, which had lost two straight via shutout a day earlier, found its offense in the fifth inning of a game against a real good Ridgewood team. West Essex was seven outs away from losing a third straight game over 24 hours, by shutout no less, when Madison Gemma hit a two-out double, in her first-ever varsity game. The freshman’s hit spurred a big-time rally in the inning and West Essex went to beat Ridgewood, 4-3.
They haven’t lost since.
So, get your popcorn, bubble gum, seeds, or whatever else you enjoy at a game, ready. This one will be fun.