West Essex won its seventh straight, with another potent offensive attack, as well as the usual pitching performance from junior righty Sami Huetter (Canonero II), as the Knights defeated Cedar Grove, 7-1, at Mondo Field, on April 20.
Huetter’s outstanding pitching is not a surprise. She pitched a complete game against the hard-hitting Panthers, striking out eight and walking one, while scattering five hits. But it’s her bat that has been a surprise for Huetter this season.
West Essex (8-1) will be favored in its next three games, as the Knights take on Glen Ridge, Montclair and Caldwell on consecutive days, starting on April 21.
“We don’t take anything for granted,” said West Essex coach Andrea Mondadori. “I’d like to think we can give some of our younger kids a chance to play, which would be nice. I was hoping to pitch Amanda Schwartz against Glen Ridge. She gave us a good effort, in relief, against Ramsey and has a good arm.
“But we have to keep the intensity. We did well today, against a tough Cedar Grove team. The last few games, we opened a big lead, but weren’t finishing well. Today, we did.”
Canonero was 3-for-3 at the plate, and drove in two runs. She’s often said that hitting isn’t her forte, but with her (brand new) bat in the middle of an already potent lineup, it makes Mondadori’s team that more dangerous.
Junior second baseman Bridget Betley had another good game, collecting three hits and actually expressing some satisfaction with her overall game.
“I guess I did okay,” said Betley. “There was one play in the field, early in the game, that bothered me, but I got three hits. Yeah, three hits. That’s not bad.”
Julia Vardiman, a freshman shortstop, continued her hot streak. After a 4-for-4 effort, and four runs scored, in a win over Ramsey last Sunday, Vardiman had another two hits in the win over Cedar Grove. Kate Jencarelli tripled and singled.
Cedar Grove (5-6) has battled a tough schedule, but coach Nicole Velardi’s team struggled a bit out of the gate last year, but came on strong in the second half, en route to a state title.
A highlight for the Panthers was a marvelous catch by junior centerfielder, Rianna Marinelli, who made an over-the-head catch, near the fence, on a long drive off the bat of Amanda Garofalo, who, ironically has made similar catches when she plays centerfield.