This blog has long had a race horse theme when it comes to Essex County softball. And, of course, the ultimate goal for any racehorse is to win a triple crown.
In Essex County, that’s a rare accomplishment. The triple crown for high school softball is generally a conference title, county championship and ultimately, a state championship.
Caldwell accomplished that feat a decade ago, behind their great pitcher, Kristen Schindler. If stud nicknames were being used back then, she would have been called ‘Citation‘.
In 2012 and 2013, Livingston accomplished it, somewhat, by winning the conference, county and state sectional title, but the Lancers fell short in the Group IV semifinals both years.
Last year, Mount St. Dominic won its triple crown in the most impressive fashion, dominating in its conference and county, then winning two incredible games in the Non-Public A tournament to secure a state championship.
A year later, some of the names have changed, but the Lions (22-1 entering games of May 6) are probably stronger this year, as coach Lorenzo Sozio’s team seeks what would be an unprecedented second TC by an Essex-based team. Jewel one is already on the crown, as the conference title is secured, with the team unbeaten in league play.
In about a week, we’ll find out if the Lions’ bid to repeat as Essex County champions is fulfilled. Mount St. Dominic is a clear favorite to win there, but that road could be challenging, with some good matchups possibly in the Final Four.
If Mount St. Dominic does win the county title, it will be the program’s sixth crown, moving it ahead of Livingston for second most ECT championships. (Caldwell has the most, with 10). Sozio has guided the Mount to all five of its titles, thus far.
A team’s success relies mainly on good pitching, and there’s no question that MSD has the stud of studs in the circle in sophomore righty, Kelsey Oh. In 2014, Oh led the Mount to the state championship with some incredible pitching down the stretch. She’s been nearly unhittable in 2015.
But let’s not forget a potent offense, and outstanding defense, featuring Ally Dabroski, Elizabeth Cowell, Helyna Bissell and up-and-coming freshman Sarah Taffett.
Dabroski, the lone senior on the team, is clearly a stud, a ‘Real Quiet‘, kind. She just plays the game at a high level, every time out.
So, sit back and enjoy some good softball leading up to the county championship, and following that, the road to a state title begins.
Get your popcorn ready !
Congratulations to Erin Stacevicz of Cedar Grove and Gianna Genello of Caldwell on collecting their 200th hit a few days apart this past week. Stacevicz (California Chrome) and Genello (Smarty Jones) are both senior shortstops, with exceptional speed at the plate and a tremendous defensive presence.
Here are the updated FMTC rankings.
1-Mount St. Dominic (22-1)
The Lions are far and away the best team in Essex, thus far.
Honestly? You can almost flip a coin from 2-5 in the rankings, but the Raiders are here for a few reasons. They have the best offense, outside of MSD, and maybe the best pitcher in senior Carly Anderson, who will make a Spectacular Bid for a county championship.
3-West Essex (13-8)
When Canonero II (Sami Huetter) is in the circle, they’re as good as anyone. West Essex is still a very young team, however, and with that comes inconsistency at times. Knights face Livingston on May 6 in what should be a really good game.
The Big Green Machine has gotten really good pitching from senior Sami Passeri and junior Sydney McCormack. Both have different strengths and head coach Jason Daily won’t hesitate in using both during the course of a game. Lancers face Cedar Grove on Saturday in a ECT quarter.
5-Cedar Grove (15-5)
There is absolutely no question that Cedar Grove can compete with any team in the county, including Mount St. Dominic. California Chrome is so good, it’s scary. The Panthers can swing the bats and have above average pitching.
The Chiefs made it to a county semifinal last year, and if they do it again in 2015, it will mean beating long-time nemesis, Nutley, on May 8 in the quarterfinals. Caldwell has been playing well, led by Smarty Jones, Christina Guarino, Val Murphy and ‘The Bear‘, Cayla Lombardi.
The Cougars are putting together a very good season and will play West Essex in a ECT quarterfinal game on May 9. It won a thriller last Saturday over Millburn in a first round ECT game.
Don’t let the record fool you, this team can play. Bengals have lost five games by one run and two more by two runs. Still think they’re capable of getting a big upset before the end of the season. Bloomfield is in the county quarters and play at top-seeded MSD on May 11.
Hillbillies are out of county tournament, but have to think they’ll be a factor in its state section.
10-Newark Academy (6-10)
Minutemen gave Nutley all it could handle in the first round of the ECT and had a good win the other day against Columbia.
The Essex studs, so far, in 2015. Note a few new names since last week.
Sami Huetter, Canonero II
Gianna Genello, Smarty Jones
Carly Anderson, Spectacular Bid
Sydney McCormack, Syd The Kid
Marina Lombardi, Silver Charm
Erin Stacevicz, California Chrome
Sophie Rosenberg, Arts and Letters
Sarah Guy, Charismatic
Ally Dabroski, Real Quiet
Out of Network
Southpaw Secretariat, IHA