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Mount St. Dominic second baseman Johanna Rivera (3) leaps into teammate's arms while first baseman Kristyn Smith (11) looks for someone to embrace as the Lady Lions record the final out while defeating Cedar Grove, 3-0, to win the Essex County Tournament title on Saturday night at Mike Shepphard, Sr. Field at Ivy Hill Park. (Photos by Gene

Mount Defeats Cedar Grove, 3-0
Behind Kiseloski's 2-Hitter, 10 K's

By Steve Tober

NEWARK- Sophia Kiseloski was quite determined to make her first start in an Essex County Tournament final a winning one, and she more than made an impression as the freshman spun a 2-hitter with 10 strikeouts while receiving stellar defense as second-seeded Mount St. Dominic earned a 3-0 win over top-seeded and defending champion Cedar Grove in this past Saturday night’s 42nd annual Essex County Tournament final at Mike Sheppard, Sr. Field at Essex County Ivy Hill Park.

The ECT title is the Mount's eighth overall as the Lady Lions trail only Caldwell (10 championships) for most county tourney titles in the 42-year history of the event. Cedar Grove had edged the Mount, 1-0, in last year's final

“We really wanted to win this game, and I wanted to do my part for our seniors,” said Kiseloski, who has shared pitching duties this spring with junior Ali Winters. “I just try to throw strikes and let my defense do its job in back of me and they were great tonight.”

Junior Kasey Sekula delivered the game’s most impressive hit, an opposite field RBI double to the right field fence in the first inning plating senior Dani Dabroski, who had walked, with the game’s first run.

Sekula then raced home on a ground out by Winters to make it 2-0 and with Kiseloski pitching so well, and the defense air tight, the Lady Lions (23-4) were well on their way to a championship win.

“Getting a couple of runs early in the game was huge,” said Sekula, who bats third in the potent Mount lineup. “We’re patient hitters and we are usually able to manufacture runs in different ways.

“I was able to get a hold of an outside pitch and drive it the other way and am just glad it drove in a run for us.”

The Mount managed four hits off Cedar Grove’s St. John’s University-bound senior Mia Faieta, who struck out 10 and also walked four and hit four batters.

The Lady Lions added another insurance run in the sixth when Kiseloski led off the inning with a single, senior Johanna Rivera was hit by a pitch, and with runners at the corners and two outs, sophomore lead-off hitter Alexa Raphael (2-for-3 with a walk) managed to hit a chopper right in front of the plate which allowed courtesy runner Lindsay Hoffman to score from third.

Cedar Grove (22-4) had runners on first and second with one out in the sixth inning as junior Brittany Taylor reached on an errant throw and junior Chloe Weinstein had an infield single.

However, the Panthers’ No. 3 hitter, junior Gianna Kubu, then hit a line drive to  senior second baseman Johanna Rivera who was able to double Coletta off first for an inning-ending double play.

After relinquishing a leadoff hit to junior Alyssa Coletta to lead off the second inning, Kiseloski retired the next 12 hitters in a row, including eight via strikeouts before Taylor reached on an error to begin the sixth.

“My curve and screwball were working well and my drop was on and off, and I felt comfortable out there,” said Kiseloski, who walked two batters in the contest. “In a big game like this one you simply have to execute your pitches.”

With the victory, the Mount takes the rubber match of three meetings between the two Essex County powers this season as they also split their two Super Essex Conference-American Division meetings this spring, with Cedar Grove winning at its home Panther Park, 2-1, back on April 2, before dropping a 5-3 decision at the Mount on May 2nd.

In the ECT final it was a very effective Mount freshman hurler, crisp defense and enough timely hitting all coming to fruition on the biggest night so far this season.

“Winning the Essex County Tournament is very important to us,” said Mount co-head coach Lorenzo Sozio. “We’ve played good defense all season and we have two pitchers in Ali and Sophia who are both very reliable.

“We had started Ali in the two previous games against Cedar Grove and decided to give them another look with Sophia.

“I’m proud of our girls and they should enjoy this championship before we turn our attentions to the state tournament which we know will be a tough task ahead.”

The Mount is the No. 2 seed in Non-Public, North A and will be at home on Thursday (May 23) in the sectional quarterfinals to host 10th-seeded Hudson Catholic. Immaculate Heart is the top seed in the section.

Cedar Grove is the top seed in North 1, Group 1, and defeated ninth-seeded Kinnelon, 2-1, Monday, in the sectional quarterfinals looking to advance to Thursday's sectional semis vs. fourth-seeded Butler.

In a high-profile independent game on Monday, the Mount was edged by Lodi Immaculate, 8-7.

Essex County Tournament final:

(2) MOUNT ST. DOMINIC    200   001   0    - 3 R 4 H 1 E
(1) CEDAR GROVE               000   000   0     -0 R  2 H 1 E
2B- Kasey Sekula
W.P. Sophia Kiseloski  L.P. Mia Faieta 

The 42 ECT Softball Finals:
2019: Mount St., Dominic 3 Cedar Grove 0
2018: Cedar Grove 1 Mount St. Dominic 0
2017: Mount St. Dominic 3 West Essex 0
2016: West Essex 11 Montclair 3
2015: Mount St. Dominic 18 West Essex 1 (in 4 inn.)
2014: Mount St. Dominic 10 Cedar Grove 0
2013: Livingston 5 Mount St. Dominic 4
2012: Livingston 2 Mount St. Dominic 0
2011: Nutley 3 Mount St. Dominic 0
2010: Cedar Grove 2 West Essex 0
2009: Mount St. Dominic 3 Cedar Grove 1
2008: Mount St. Dominic 7 Cedar Grove 0
2007: West Essex 2 Mount St. Dominic 0
2006: Livingston 5 Bloomfield 3
2005: Caldwell 1 Montclair 0 (in 8 inn.)
2004: Caldwell 3 MKA 2
2003: Mount St. Dominic 1 Bloomfield 0 (in 11 inn.)
2002: MKA 4 Caldwell 1
2001: MKA 7 Mount St. Dominic 1
2000: Bloomfield 10 Mount St. Dominic 2
1999: Bloomfield 7 Belleville 1
1998: West Essex 1 Belleville 0
1997: West Essex 2 Nutley 1
1996: Mount St. Dominic 2 Bloomfield 1
1995: Bloomfield 2 Mount St. Dominic 1
1994: Caldwell 2 Bloomfield 1
1993: Nutley 2 Belleville 1
1992: Livingston 10 Bloomfield 4
1991: Caldwell 3 Livingston 1
1990: Caldwell 3 Livingston 1
1989: Belleville 1 Livingston 0 (in 10 inn.)
1988: Caldwell 7 Belleville 3
1987: Caldwell 3 Belleville 2
1986: Caldwell 3 Belleville 1
1985: Livingston 5 Belleville 4
1984: Cedar Grove 8 Belleville 5
1983: Belleville 3 Bloomfield 1
1982: Belleville 8 Livingston 0
1981: Caldwell 2 Columbia 1
1980: Cedar Grove 4 Belleville 0
1979: Cedar Grove 8 Columbia 1
1978: Caldwell 2 Bloomfield 1          

Follow Steve Tober on Twitter @Chattermeister

Mount St. Dominic's Sophia Kiseloski (1) winds up before delivering pitch vs. Cedar Grove in Saturday night's Essex County Tournament title tilt.

Mount St. Dominic's softball players and coaches gather at Ivy Hill Park as they celebrate their eighth Essex County Tournament championship.

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