Mount St. Dominic’s ranking as the state’s top team in New Jersey high school softball was certainly validated in the early going, especially last weekend, as the Lions went to the prestigious Rancocas Valley Elite 16 Tournament, and left with four victories and a championship trophy.
The Lions then showed some resiliency on April 14, when it battled a tough West Essex team for eight innings, before coming away with a 1-0 victory, on the road. Championship pedigree is established by winning tough games, and MSDA has certainly showed its mettle in the early going. (More on the win over West Essex in an upcoming blog)
Obviously, the Mount stays No. 1 in the FMTC Top 10 poll, but there are some good teams taking shape in the Super Essex Conference, which should make for an interesting race in the American Division, as well as some fun for the upcoming Essex County Tournament, that will probably be seeded in the next week, or so.
Livingston, which vaulted to No. 2 after winning five straight games, has a new stud in senior catcher Marina Lombardi, or ‘Silver Charm’. The Lancers now have a stud battery, as sophomore pitcher Sydney McCormack, or ‘Syd The Kid’, was awarded her horseshoe a week ago.
As far as Lombardi, she’s the last starter of those great 2012 and 2013 Livingston teams that dominated the SEC and ECT. Lombardi, a senior catcher, has marvelous range behind the plate and is not easy to run on. She’s also swinging the bat real well. (More on Lombardi in an upcoming blog).
The new ‘Silver Charm’, Marina Lombardi, (left) warming up with the original Secretariat, in 2013. Lombardi is as good as they get behind the plate.
The ‘other’ Silver Charm.
After an opening day setback, the Lancers have shown steady improvement with a young team. They’ll have a huge assignment on April 15, when it plays a very good Cedar Grove team.
Nutley had the chance to get out of the cold weather on April 8, as it headed to Orlando and the Disney Complex. There, Luann Zullo’s team won four straight games to improve to 7-1 on the season. The Raiders are back in action on April 15, hosting West Essex, in what could be a game that helps decide the second (and/or third) seed in the upcoming county tournament.
Belleville continues to roll, with a 6-0 mark, as of April 14. And before everyone starts yapping about their schedule, the Bucs play whoever is on the slate. Belleville was moved to the Colonial Division after the 2014 season, which was a shame, because the Bucs had a young team that was just about ready to compete with the better teams in the SEC’s Liberty. Oh well, let’s see how the Bucs do when it comes to the county tournament. This is a good team, with improving talent, and a good coach in Chris Cantarella.
Montclair has a new coach in Phil Delgado, who, if he could, would put on a uniform and play. The guy is intense as they come, yet encouraging, too, for a team that should find its way soon in the SEC’s American Division. Delgado will have the Mounties battling hard for the entire 2015 season.
Have to get more into the SEC’s Liberty Division soon. Caldwell is the favorite to win there, but there will be some good battles in the Liberty, too. Newark Academy, West Orange, Columbia, Montclair Kimberley and Verona will be in the mix for a league crown, as well.
Here is the updated FMTC Top 10
1-Mount St. Dominic (9-1)
Sarah Taffett had two hits and Kelsey Oh helped her own cause by walking and scoring the game’s only run in a 1-0 victory, at West Essex, in eight innings. Oh’s pitching has been tremendous in the early going. She’s unscored upon in SEC action.
Head coach Jason Daily has a somewhat inexperienced team playing very aggressively in the early going. The pitching of Sami Passeri and Sydney McCormack give the Lancers a lot of options, as both have a different style, but get the job done.
The Raiders were 4-0 last week in Florida. Spectacular Bid (Carly Anderson) continues to dominate.
4-West Essex (6-3)
Canonero II (Sami Huetter) showed she’s among the best pitchers in Essex County after a great effort against Mount St. Dominic. West Essex’s infield defense is outstanding, especially first baseman Kate Jencarelli.
5-Cedar Grove (6-2)
Panthers just keep on winning. Erin Stacevicz is a STUD. (Just deciding on the correct name).
Smarty Jones (Gianna Genello) is the catalyst at the top of the lineup for the Chiefs.
A pair of one-run losses to Livingston and West Essex shows this team is more than capable of competing with the upper division.
The Hillbillies will be in the run for a conference title, especially after playing a tough game against Caldwell.
A big game with Millburn on April 17 will probably decide the SEC’s Colonial Division champ. Third baseman Sarah Guy leads a young team.
The record might not reflect it, but the Mounties are battling. They’ve already played West Essex, Livingston and Mount St. Dominic.
The Essex softball studs, so far, in 2015
Sami Huetter, Canonero II
Gianna Genello, Smarty Jones
Carly Anderson, Spectacular Bid
Sydney McCormack, Syd The Kid
Marina Lombardi, Silver Charm
Out of Network…
Southpaw Secretariat quickly establishing herself at IHA.