Livingston won a big Super Essex Conference American Division game, rallying for two runs in the bottom of the seventh to edge a feisty Nutley team, 7-6, in Livingston.
The Lancers (7-8) appeared to have the game under control, holding a 5-0 lead in the top of the sixth, before Nutley (7-7) answered with four runs, then took the lead in the seventh with two more. Livingston responded, scoring two in the last of the seventh, capped off by an RBI single from Alex Moresco.
Livingston snapped a four game losing streak to Nutley and defeated the Raiders, at the Shangri La home field, for the first time since Jess Peslak was pitching for the team, in 2013.
“We found a way, against a good team,” said Livingston coach Jason Daily. “We’re getting there, but we’re not playing at the level we’re capable of, yet.”
Livingston and Nutley are almost mirror images of each other. They’re both young teams, learning the game, while playing a rugged schedule, with strong veteran head coaches. Luann Zullo has been at the helm in Nutley for 19 seasons now while Daily is in his 17th season.
“It’s always a good game with Livingston,” said Zullo. “I’ve always had the highest respect for the way Jason coaches that team. It’s a battle, every time.”
Both teams have talented youngsters in the lineup. Nutley pitcher Courtney Wilde, a sophomore, gets better with each game, and she’s also a force at the plate, batting third in the lineup.Wilde was 2-for-4 against Livingston.
Junior shortstop Melanie Conca is a force at the plate and senior Sam Echevarria is a tremendous second baseman who started Nutley’s sixth inning rally with a lead off single. Another senior, Lauren Hogan, plays a solid first base and has an effective bat.
Livingston shortstop Ashley Reuter, a junior, and freshman second baseman Nicolette Luzzi give the Lancers a tremendous middle infield defense, and both are excellent hitters.
“Ashley is a tremendous athlete,” said Daily. “And Nicolette is quickly learning the varsity game.”
Jaclyn Williamson had three hits in the win over Nutley and started the winning rally in the seventh with a single. Kaitlyn Kelly, who drove in two runs, followed with a single, and a throwing error allowed Wiliamson to score the tying run. After a ground out, a key two-out walk by Chloe Saperstein set the stage for Moresco, the number nine hitter in the lineup, and she came through, with an opposite-field single which plated Kelly with the winning run.
“Kaitlyn’s hit was big for us,” said Daily of Kelly. “And give Chloe a lot of credit. That walk was huge. She’s a freshman and learning the game. Chloe had a tough first three at bats in the game, but she didn’t get down, she worked hard and got a walk which extended the inning and set up Alex’s hit.”
Livingston’s Emma Cooney, one of the best defensive catchers in the county, scored two runs and Lancers pitcher Jess Gorman pitched well. She didn’t allow a baserunner through 3 2/3 innings and had a shutout into the sixth.
“Jess pitched well,” said Daily. “She gave us a quality start.”