It was a big week for Essex County softball, as the 37th county tournament began to take shape this weekend.
Clearly, the two best teams in the county remain Livingston and Mount St. Dominic. On May 2, the Mount avenged an earlier season loss to Livingston by winning a 7-3 decision at the Stable. It was a 4-3 game into the seventh before MSDA wrapped up the hard-earned victory.
Mount St. Dominic’s win marked just the second loss by Livingston in Essex County play, over its last 54 games, dating back to 2011.
Gabby Lombardi, a junior shortstop, had a tremendous day for MSDA.
A third meeting between the two teams could come on May 17, in the Essex County final. Right now, that seems a pretty good assumption, but there are two more rounds of ECT play before that is assured.
In the SEC American Division, Livingston and the Mount are tied for first, but keep in mind Livingston still has two games to play against a dangerous Nutley team. Nutley also has a game left with MSDA, so who knows as far as a team playing spoiler.
Knights-Raiders put on a good show at Owens
West Essex and Nutley played an outstanding game at Owens Field, in Nutley, on May 2. It was actually West Essex’s home game, but the Knights’ field wasn’t ready after the deluge of rain on April 30, so the turf at Owens was the choice for this game.
West Essex won, 4-3, on a walk-off solo homer by freshman Amanda Garofalo in the bottom of the seventh inning. Garofalo also made a tremendous throw from her centerfield position to cut down a run earlier in the game,
West Essex’s pitching also seems to have settled down as Sami Huetter (Canonero II) threw the ball really well against Nutley, then followed that with a no-hitter on May 3, against Belleville, as she fanned 15 batters.
What may hinder West Essex is the injury bug. Head coach Andrea Mondadori’s team has three key starters out of the lineup and as many as six freshmen should start in the upcoming week.
Rose Pezzuti, a talented and versatile junior, has a foot injury which could keep her out for three weeks.
Cross Over Games one-sided
On April 28, the SEC crossover games were held between American and Liberty teams, but it was clear the American schools are farther ahead after sweeping their Liberty opponents.
County quarters are set
The ECT quarterfinals will be next week, with top-seeded Livingston set to play No. 9 Cedar Grove, second seeded Mount St. Dominic facing No. 10 Montclair, third seeded West Essex gets arch rival Caldwell, which is seeded sixth, and fourth seeded Nutley takes on upstart Verona, the 12th seed, which defeated fifth seeded Glen Ridge in the first round.
All quarterfinal games will be contested at the home of the higher seed. (Miss those days when all 4 games were played at one site, specifically Pulaski Park).
MKA coming around
While Montclair Kimberley wasn’t expected to defeat Mount St. Dominic in the first round of the ECT, the Cougars showed some tenacity in a 4-1 loss to the Lions. The young team played good defense and hung around, giving hopes that MKA could be a factor in the North Non-Public B tourney later this month, as well as the Prep Tourney.
The Cougars are 6-4 heading into a big week of action.
Newark Academy showing some mettle
It’s been a strange season for Newark Academy, but coach Sergio Rodriguez’s team is starting to play better. It won a pair of big Liberty Division games last week against Glen Ridge and Verona and could be in line to make a nice run in the state tourney. Like MKA, Newark Academy (5-7) is in Non-Public B.
Montclair playing well
Montclair’s win over Columbia tonight was its fourth straight victory and wrapped up a 3-0 week for the Mounties and head coach Dan Roberts.
I have to say, there is no one who doesn’t like Dan. He’s a gentleman, a class act and someone who seems to get the most from his players. Montclair will play Mount St. Dominic in the ECT quarters this week.
The updated FMTC Top 10.
2-Mount St. Dominic (17-3)
3-West Essex (11-5)
7-Cedar Grove (7-11)
8-West Orange (6-14)
9-Newark Academy (5-7)
Stud Watch: Victoria Ross of Bloomfield, a senior catcher who collected her 100th career hit on May 3, is the newest stud in the Essex stable. She’s now Sea Biscuit.
The next two studs should get the names ‘Forego‘ and ‘California Chrome‘.
Here’s the updated list.
Kylie McLaughlin, Seattle Slew
Sammi Rothenberger, Riva Ridge
Gianna Genello, Smarty Jones
Sami Huetter, Canonero II
Victoria Ross, Sea Biscuit
Carly Anderson, Spectacular Bid
Out of network.
Stef Thomas, Affirmed
CONGRATS TO STEF ON WINNING HER 100TH CAREER GAME IN AN IHA UNIFORM ON MAY 2, 2014…SHE ADDED WIN NUMBER 101 A DAY LATER, TOO, AGAINST MSDA…..GREAT PITCHER, WONDERFUL KID.
Not often we go out of network in Stud Watch, but she’s the real deal…
Stef Thomas of IHA won her 100th career game, a rare feat, on May 2. She’s Affirmed her legacy, for sure.