Belleville and Nutley have long shared an intense, and somewhat bitter rivalry in all sports, dating back 70 years.
So, it was kind of nice to see the two teams come together on the softball diamond to honor each other’s seniors prior to their matchup today in Nutley.
Belleville coach Chris Cantarella (far left) and his counterpart, Luann Zullo of Nutley (far right) take part in a combined ‘Senior Day’ for Buccaneers and Raiders prior to their game today. (Photo courtesy of Luann Zullo)
Nutley is getting ready for the upcoming Essex County Tournament semifinals, set for this Friday night at Ivy Hill Park. The weather could be an issue on Friday. A similar instance occurred in 2011, ironically the last time Nutley won the championship.
That time, the semifinals were moved back to Saturday afternoon and the championship game was played the following day.
Of course, it’s way too early to predict what will happen four days from now, but I’m sure the committee will figure it out.
West Essex won’t be playing this weekend at Ivy Hill, but the Knights should gain a high seed for the NJSIAA tournament, in North Jersey, Section 2, Group 3. The Knights beat a Group 4 team today in Wayne Valley, 10-8, in a very entertaining game in Wayne, that went nine innings.
Sami Huetter (Canonero II) pitched a complete game for West Essex.
Cedar Grove could be a very interesting team at the county semis. The Panthers already dispatched top-seeded Livingston and will face fourth seeded Nutley next. This team can hit, and the pitching is starting to come around, as well.
In a 7-5 win over Caldwell the other day, Cedar Grove was led by Autumn Spinella, who hit two homers, Erin Stacevicz’s usual havoc at the top of the lineup and Rianna Marinelli, who collected three hits.
Winning pitcher Gianna Capobianco kept the Chiefs off-balance for six solid innings.
Stacevicz has been electric for Cedar Grove as the leadoff hitter and first baseman. The Panthers may be hitting its stride at the right time.
STUD WATCH: With Forego now assigned to Mount St. Domnic’s Olivia Gemma, the Essex Stable now has seven studs.
Spectacular Bid, Smarty Jones and Forego will all be playing at Ivy Hill Park this weekend in the county semifinals, on the same weekend as the Preakness, no less.
And an eighth stud could be crowned shortly from that town with the initials CG.
Kyle McLaughlin, Seattle Slew
Carly Anderson, Spectacular Bid
Sammi Rothenberger, Riva Ridge
Gianna Genello, Smarty Jones
Sami Huetter, Canonero II
Victoria Ross, Sea Biscuit
Olivia Gemma, Forego
Out of Network:
Stef Thomas, Affirmed