For the fifth time since 2008, Mount St. Dominic and Cedar Grove will meet in either the Essex County Tournament semifinal, or championship game.
This time, it will be for the championship of the 37th ECT, marking the third time since ’08 the teams will play for the title. The Lions and Panthers will meet on Friday, May 23, at 7 p.m. in legendary Ivy Hill Park.
Mount St. Dominic has had the upper hand with Cedar Grove in the ECT, winning the title over the Panthers in 2008 and 2009, as well as the 2011 and 2013 semifinals. Last year’s semi was a classic, a game Cedar Grove appeared to have won before Olivia Gemma hit a dramatic homer in the sixth inning.
The Mount clinched a berth in its fourth straight ECT final and seventh in the past eight seasons, by defeating a feisty Caldwell team today, 9-6. Cedar Grove jumped out early in its game with Nutley and went on to a 10-4 victory.
No question that Cedar Grove is the hottest team in the tourney. The Panthers improved to 13-12 and won for the seventh time in its last eight tries in the semis. It also defeated Nutley for a third straight time in 2014.
Cedar Grove, the ninth seed, is hitting, literally, on all cylinders and its defense was superb against a hard-hitting Nutley team.
Second seeded Mount St. Dominic (23-3) continues to hit the ball very well. Sam Platt had five RBI, including a three-run homer, in the win over Caldwell while Helyna Bissell also homered for the Lions.
Platt was the winning pitcher in relief.
Mount St. Dominic coach Lorenzo Sozio will seek his fifth county championship since 1996, while Cedar Grove’s Ray VanderMay looks for his fourth title. VanderMay last led Cedar Grove to a championship 30 years ago, when it stopped two-time champion Belleville, 8-5, in the final at Pulaski Park.
There’s much more to come during the week on this matchup.
In the meantime, here’s the updated Top 10.
1-Mount St. Dominic (23-3)
3-Cedar Grove (13-12)
4-West Essex (16-7)
8-Montclair Kimberley (10-6)
9-Newark Academy (10-11)