Following her team’s hard-fought win over Nutley last week, West Essex coach Andrea Mondadori discussed Nutley’s senior lefty pitcher, Emily Holden.
“You gotta give that kid a (stud) name,” Mondo said. “She’s really good. What a pitcher.”
And with that, Holden is dubbed Genuine Risk.
Holden had an incredible week, highlighted by a 1-0 win over Mount St. Dominic, the No. 1 team in the latest FMTC Top 10, last Friday, in Nutley.
Holden pitched the entire weekend, too, losing a close game to Morris Knolls, then tossing a shutout against Pequannock at the Mount St. Dominic Lions Softball Invitational, on April 17.
Nutley coach Luann Zullo wasn’t sure if she’d use Holden in three straight games, especially on the heals of what will be a busy upcoming week.
“I asked her after Saturday’s game (against Morris Knolls, at Ivy Hill Park), if she felt she could go on an early game Sunday, after pitching late the night before, and she said yes,” said Zullo. “Emily just takes the ball and pitches. She’s a great competitor.”
Speaking of West Essex, the Knights won its sixth straight game last Sunday, defeating Ramsey, 10-5, at the annual EDSAF Tournament, in Emerson.
West Essex (7-1) cranked out 14 hits in the victory, as freshman shortstop Julia Vardiman was 4-for-4 and Kate Jencarelli had two hits. Amanda Garofalo continued her aggressive play at the plate, and her speed has been key to rallies. Garofalo also plays an outstanding centerfield.
Kelsey Oh continues to dazzle, as the junior righty had a tremendous week for Mount St. Dominic. Oh fanned 17 against hard-hitting Middletown South, at Ivy Hill Park, on April 16. In her only loss, against Nutley a day earlier, it was hard to ask for anything better. Oh struck out 12 and allowed one hit.
Mount St. Dominic hosted its annual tournament on April 17, under perfect weather conditions. MSDA athletic director and head softball coach Lorenzo Sozio puts in an incredible amount of work to make this tournament what it is, a tremendous showcase for players and fans, year in and year out.
The ‘Battle of Livingston’ went to the Lancers, who edged Newark Academy, 7-5, at the Lions Softball Invitational last Sunday. Livingston trailed, 5-1, but stormed back as Allie Royce launched a grand-slam homer and Julia Viggiano had two hits. In the circle, Jess Gorman, a sophomore, pitched well in relief and got the win.
Livingston coach Jason Daily was happy with the win, but knows his team needs to play better.
“Newark Academy hit the ball well,” said Daily. “That team has a chance to make a good run in the Essex County Tournament. (Newark Academy head coach) Serg (Rodriguez) has a really good team.
“As for us, we’re not consistent enough. I like the way these kids battle, but we have to be better defensively. We’ve played a tough schedule, but we know it’s not going to get any easier.”
Here’s the updated Top 10:
1-Mount St. Dominic (7-1): They’re still the best in the county, with Kelsey Oh in the circle and a pesky offensive attack, led by Julianna Kocenski, Elizabeth Cowell and Sarah Taffett.
2-West Essex (7-1): A stud battery of pitcher Sami Huetter (Canonero II) and catcher Alexa Vardiman (Funny Cide) continues to excel, and the offense has been nearly unstoppable.
3-Nutley (6-2): Senior pitcher Emily Holden (Genuine Risk) had a week for the ages, with multiple shutouts. Holden is also a tough out at the plate. Danielle Pomponio, Stefanie Ziemer and Breanna DeMaio are also key to the Raiders’ offense.
4-Livingston (4-5): Lancers have been close in most of their setbacks and appear ready to make a run. They’ll have a tough task on April 18, when it visits Mount St. Dominic.
5-Newark Academy (4-3): This team can hit, led by Sam Keller and Sophie Rosenberg (Arts and Letters). Its three losses have come by a combined four runs.
6-Cedar Grove (4-5): The Panthers split two games at its tournament last weekend. A very aggressive schedule early on should put the team in good stead as it gears for the county tournament.
7-Caldwell (6-1): The Chiefs’ only loss came in a 7-6 setback to Newark Academy. Coach Mike Teshkoyan’s team is still very much in the running for an SEC title and could get a high seed in the county tournament.
8-Bloomfield (3-5): Bengals seem to be playing better after a slow start, winning two straight entering this week’s action. Crystal Rodriguez had two hits, and Courtney Politz drove in a pair of runs in a 5-1 victory over Lakeland this past weekend.
9-Verona (5-5): The Hillbillies had won 5 of 6, after a slow start, and scored 40 runs in its last three games, all wins, heading into this week.
10-Millburn (11-0): A new entry into the Top 10, the Millers are off to a big start, and appear to be running away with an SEC title, which would be its second straight crown. Rachel Hubertus had six RBI in a win over Belleville, including a homer and two triples. It will be interesting to see where Millburn is seeded in the upcoming county tournament.
The latest stud watch…
Sami Huetter, Canonero II
Sydney McCormack, Syd The Kid
Sophie Rosenberg, Arts and Letters
Alexa Vardiman, Funny Cide
Emily Holden, Genuine Risk
Out of Network:
Olivia Sprofera, Southpaw Slew
Reese Guevarra, Sunday Silence