Rianna Marinelli celebrated her 100th career hit on April 27 with a tremendous day at the plate. The senior was 3-for-4, with a homer and two RBI, as Cedar Grove pulled away from Columbia to win a 10-0 decision, at Panther Park.
Marinelli, who will play at Stockton University this fall, collected her 100th hit in her first plate appearance and drove in a run, as Cedar Grove (11-4) opened a 2-0 lead after one inning. Jules Cicala also had an RBI single in the first.
A two run lead with Mia Faieta pitching is usually more than enough, and that was the case, as Faieta, who left her last start early with stiffness in her shoulder, was back in her usual form. The sophomore righty (AKA California Chrome) fanned 15 in six innings while giving up one hit. Faieta did work out of a jam in the second inning, when Columbia loaded the bases with one out, but California Chrome fanned the next two hitters to get out of it unscathed.
But the story of the game was Marinelli, who continues to play well for the Panthers.
“Rianna does so much for our team,” said Cedar Grove coach Nicole Velardi. “This is a nice day for her.”
Marinelli’s homer came in the sixth, a solo blast well over the left centerfield fence. She will join former Cedar Grove teammate Daniela Marinaro at Stockton. One-time Cedar Grove stars Gianna Cuffari and Nicole Tomo also played softball at Stockton.
Marinelli will have an Essex County teammate at Stockton this fall, too, as West Essex’s Sami Huetter plans to play at the Atlantic County school, as well.
Columbia coach Cliff Smith kept his sense of humor following the game. When he caught a glance of the score book, he smiled and said, “that’s a lot of K’s.”
Smith is optimistic about his team’s future.
“We’re a young team,” said Smith. “Mia was really tough today, but we’ve been hitting the ball pretty well. We had a good win against Bloomfield the other day, gave Livingston a tough game and we’re getting better. I’m optimistic about the future.”