After a week of rain and constant postponements, all the Essex County Tournament round-of-16 games were finalized on May 9.
There weren’t a lot of surprises. The only ‘lower’ seed to advance was ninth seeded Montclair, which played another solid game in defeating eighth seeded Caldwell, 6-0, in Caldwell, on May 9.
Montclair will take on top-seeded and two-time defending champion Mount St. Dominic on May 14. The other quarterfinals, also scheduled for May 14, feature second seeded West Essex, which will host seventh seeded Bloomfield, third-seeded Nutley welcoming sixth seeded Cedar Grove, and a Battle of Livingston, as Newark Academy, the fifth seed, makes the short trip to ShangriLa to play the fourth seeded Big Green Machine.
The times will be confirmed later in the week.
Bloomfield earned its quarterfinal bid on May 9, edging a tough Verona squad, 3-1. The Bengals (8-12) received a well-pitched game from senior righty Courtney Politz, who scattered five hits, and worked out of a tough jam in the seventh inning with some quality pitches.
Bloomfield senior Sam Corio (Pleasant Colony) was outstanding. The centerfielder drove in her team’s first run, later scored the game-winning run and made a typically perfect throw from center to nab a Verona baserunner at the plate, with the scored tied, 1-1.
In Caldwell, Montclair remained red hot, with a 6-0 win over Caldwell. The Mounties won its third straight and improved to 6-13, as junior righty Jessie ‘Maddux’ Masur continued her dominant pitching. Masur fanned nine and Erica Robles continued her hot hotting. Paige Davenport was also effective at the plate.
And on PDGIsland, the vegetation remains lush and the crowds continue to make reservations for the summer season.
Montclair will play Mount St. Dominic in the quarterfinals for the fourth time in the last nine years. The Lions won the previous three games, two in close contests, prevailing 3-1 in 2008, en route to a championship and 2-0 in 2014, when Mount St. Dominic went on to win the title that year, as well. In 2012, the Lions won easily, and advanced to the county final.
The updated FMTC Top 10 rankings have a few new wrinkles.
1-West Essex (15-1): It was a quiet week for the Knights, with just one game, a victory over Newark East Side, for its 14th straight victory. A big game awaits on May 10, as Montclair comes to town.
2-Mount St. Dominic (18-2): The two-time defending champions breezed by Belleville, and will face upstart Montclair on Saturday.
3-Nutley (16-3): The Raiders won twice last week, including a win over Montclair Kimberley in the ECT round of 16.
4-Livingston (9-8): The Big Green Machine will face a tough Newark Academy team in the quarters. Livingston won a close game against the Minutemen a few weeks back.
5-Newark Academy (12-3): The Minutemen don’t up many runs. In 15 games, it has allowed 27 runs. Newark Academy will face Bloomfield on May 12, in a night game at The Pond, then prepares for Livingston two days later.
6-Cedar Grove (11-9): Better watch out here. The Panthers are starting to come around, with good hitting, solid defense and a tremendous pitching staff. Its quarterfinal game on Saturday, against Nutley, should be compelling.
7-Montclair (6-13): Next sound you hear ! The Mounties have been playing very well of late, including nice wins over Cedar Grove and Caldwell. Big games with West Essex and Mount St. Dominic this week should tell a lot.
8-Bloomfield (8-12): Coach Bob Mayer’s Bengals are always battle tested. The team will host Newark Academy on May 12, then prepares for a third matchup against powerful West Essex.
9-Millburn (18-2): The Millers played a solid game at Cedar Grove in the first round of the ECT, but were unable to get anything going offensively. It should get a high seed in the upcoming NJSIAA tournament.
10-Caldwell (12-5): A quick exit from the county tournament means the Chiefs will start preparing for the state tournament.
The latest stud watch…(And soon, ‘Nyquist‘ will be added)
Sami Huetter, Canonero II
Sydney McCormack, Syd The Kid
Sophie Rosenberg, Arts and Letters
Alexa Vardiman, Funny Cide
Emily Holden, Genuine Risk
Sam Corio, Pleasant Colony
Out of Network:
Olivia Sprofera, Southpaw Slew
Reese Guevarra, Sunday Silence
Emilie Cieslak, Tim Tam