Montclair continues to show signs of being a good team, but the Mounties are also learning that the slightest mistake, especially in the Super Essex Conference’s American Division, will be costly.
The Mounties’ head coach, Phil Delgado, saw his team in a nip-and-tuck battle with Jason Daily’s Lancers, but Livingston used its small ball offense effectively and a solid infield defense was too much for Montclair, as Livingston, led by senior pitcher Sydney McCormack (Syd The Kid) won, 5-1, despite an excellent effort by Montclair pitcher Jessie Mazur.
Delgado, who considers Daily one of his role models, was his usual vocal self during the game.
“This is like a chess match,” Delgado said in the fifth inning. “But against a team like Livingston, you can’t mistakes. One wrong move, and they make you pay. That’s the kind of team I’d like us to be. Make plays on defense, get that timely hit, and pitch well. We’re doing a little of all three, but when you look at Livingston, there’s a difference.”
Livingston’s infield defense features Allie Royce at first, Allie Beinhacker at second, shortstop Blake Saperstein and third baseman Nina Petrillo, and the smooth fielding made McCormack’s job easier, in throwing strikes and letting the defense do its thing.
Syd The Kid gave up an unearned run in the top of the seventh, when Montclair staged a rally, after a two-out throwing error kept the Mounties alive. But Montclair (0-3) hurt itself when, on an RBI single, a second runner ran through Delgado’s stop sign at third base, and was tagged out at the plate on a good play by Livingston catcher Emma Cooney, to end the contest.
“It is what it is,” said Delgado afterward. “These are the things we have to correct. And believe me, we will.”
Daily was pleased with his team’s effort, as Livingston improved to 2-2.
“We’re getting there,” said Daily. “I like our infield defense and Sydney continues to throw the ball well. We’ve got a tough schedule coming up. Butler (April 12), Cedar Grove (April 13), West Essex (April 15), Hillsborough (April 16, at Ivy Hill Park) and Newark Academy (April 17 at the Mount St. Dominic Tournament) and then, next Monday, we’re back at the Mount again (for a conference game).”
The latest FMTC Top 10 has switched, slightly.
1-Mount St. Dominic (3-0): Until someone in the county beats them, the Lions are the cream of the crop, including 35 straight wins against Essex opponents. Great pitching (Kelsey Oh is fantastic, and she’s quite a hitter, too), and timely hitting continues to be its mantra. A thrilling come-from-behind win over No. 2 West Essex showed MSDA’s resiliency. An April 15 game, at Nutley, will be a good test, as will an April 16 contest, at Ivy Hill Park, opposite Middletown South. (See the full schedule below for the Essex County Softball Challenge).
And this Sunday, April 17, the Lions host its annual tournament, which was postponed from last week, because of bad weather.
It should be a special day of softball, at MSDA, as the parents and coaches do a marvelous job in providing a great atmosphere for a full day of games. There will plenty of good food and other goodies available for purchase, behind the outfield fence.
The tournament begins at 8:30 a.m. and there will be games for the entire day, with the last group of contests starting around 4:30 p.m.
2-West Essex (3-1): A stud battery features a pair of juniors in pitcher Sami Huetter (Canonero II) and catcher Alexa Vardiman (Funny Cide). Like everyone else this week, there’s plenty of games for coach Andrea Mondadori’s team, including huge league games with Nutley and Livingston. Knights were very impressive in a 4-0 win over Delaware power, Caravel, last Sunday at the Anthony LaRezza Invitational.
3-Nutley (4-0): Senior pitcher Emily Holden has been fantastic thus far. She’s pitched three shutouts and is also a force at the plate. Nutley will host No. 1 Mount St. Dominic on Friday, in what should be a much-anticipated game.
4-Newark Academy (2-1): Might be a little ambitious, but this team can play. Its only loss was a 2-1 setback, in the bottom of the seventh to Jefferson at the Anthony LaRezza Invitational last Sunday. The Minutemen play defense, can hit and its pitching is solid. And, there’s Arts And Letters (Sophie Rosenberg) in the heart of the lineup.
5-Livingston (2-2): The Lancers lost a tough 5-4 game to Nutley last week, and have wins over Bloomfield and Montclair. This week’s games should say a lot about its season.
6-Cedar Grove (2-3): The Panthers haven’t quite hit its groove, yet, but they’ll be fine. Cedar Grove will host its annual Black and Gold Tournament on April 16. The full schedule appears below.
7-Caldwell (3-0): A good win over Verona keeps the Chiefs unbeaten in the early going.
8-Bloomfield (1-4): The Bengals are always in the running, with Samantha Corio playing centerfield, or pitching.
9-Verona (2-5): After a slow start, the Hillbillies are starting to come around. It lost a tough game to Caldwell on April 11, 5-4.
10-Montclair (0-3): They’ve played Bloomfield, Nutley and Livingston, so far, and the schedule doesn’t ease up, with West Essex, Mount St. Dominic and IHA on the horizon. But this team is fun to watch, and with more experience, can surprise some teams. Jessie Mazur is a very good pitcher for the Mounties.
The Essex County Softball Challenge is set for April 16. Here’s the projected lineup of games, which will be played at newly-renovated Ivy Hill Park, on the campus of Seton Hall University.
- West Essex vs. Bridgewater-Raritan, 11 a.m.
- Newark Academy vs. Raritan, 1 p.m.
- Mount Saint Dominic Academy vs. Middletown South, 3 p.m.
- Livingston vs. Hillsborough, 5 p.m.
- Nutley vs. Morris Knolls, 7 p.m.
And in Cedar Grove, the annual Black and Gold Tournament is set for April 16. Here is that schedule, with games at two different fields, Panther Park and nearby Leonard R. Parks Elementary School.
9 a.m. Cedar Grove vs. Lodi Immaculate, at Panther Park, and IHA vs. Montclair, at Leonard R. Parks Elementary School.
11:30 a.m. Pope John vs. IHA, at Panther Park, and Kittatinny vs. Cedar Grove, at Parks Elementary.
1:30 p.m. Montclair vs. Lenape Valley, at Panther Park, and DePaul vs. Lodi Immaculate, at Parks Elementary.
4 p.m. Kittatinny vs. DePaul, at Panther Park, and Lenape Valley vs. Pope John, at Parks Elementary.
The latest stud watch…
Sami Huetter, Canonero II
Sydney McCormack, Syd The Kid
Sophie Rosenberg, Arts and Letters
Alexa Vardiman, Funny Cide
Out of Network:
Katie Kudlacik, Southpaw Secretariat
Olivia Sprofera, Southpaw Slew
Reese Guevarra, Sunday Silence