|the latest regional New Jersey high school sports news|
Veteran right-hander Jordan Robbins is back in the circle while trying to lead GL to a third straight Union County Softball Tournament championship as the Highlanders will take on Westfield in final. (Photos by JR Parachini)
Westfield coach Caitlin MacDonald has her Blue Devils in 2013 UCT final
Veteran head coach Rick Iacono continues to direct the GL Highlanders
GL repeated as Union County Softball Tournament champions in 2012
Westfield continues to have a solid softball program under coach MacDonald
There were two excellent UCT softball semifinal games played on Saturday
2-Time Defending Champ GL
38th ANNUAL SOFTBALL UNION COUNTY TOURNAMENT
FINAL AT KEAN UNIVERSITY’S COUGAR FIELD
Date to be determined following Sunday's postponement
2-Gov. Livingston (14-7) vs. 1-Westfield (17-5)
GL pitcher: Senior RH Jordan Robbins (11-5)
Westfield pitcher: Junior RH Elena Scarano (12-2)
Saturday’s Semifinal Scores at Kean
Governor Livingston 4, New Providence 3
Westfield 5, Johnson 4
By JR Parachini
UNION – Governor Livingston has been there and done that.
So has Westfield.
The difference is that GL has been there and done that much more recently.
The Highlanders won back-to-back county championships for the first time the past two seasons.
The Blue Devils are seeking their first crown in 15 years.
For the second time in three years at Kean University’s Cougar Field it will be GL vs. Westfield in the championship game.
“Our players are well-aware of the history and what’s at stake,” fifth-year Westfield head coach Caitlin MacDonald said.
A time and date for the rescheduled 38th annual softball Union County Tournament championship game has yet to be announced. The game had been slated to be played at Kean's Cougar Field on Sunday at noon, but Sunday's rain and wet field conditions led to the final being postponed..
The junior varsity championship game was also postponed. The jayvee semifinals included fifth-seeded Summit at top-seeded Johnson and seventh-seeded Cranford at third-seeded Roselle Park.
Second-seeded GL, which has won the third-most county titles with five, came back to oust third-seeded New Providence 4-3 in Saturday’s first varsity semifinal at Cougar Field. GL and New Providence previously split Union County Conference-Watchung Division games, with GL winning 3-1 at home on April 4 and New Providence 4-0 at home on April 30.
GL won its fourth straight since losing at Westfield, while New Providence had a 10-game winning streak snapped since its last loss, which was also at Westfield.
New Providence, still seeking its first county crown, reached the final for the first time last year, falling to GL 9-2 at Cougar Field.
Top-seeded Westfield, which has won the second-most county crowns with seven including its last in 1998, held on to eliminate fourth-seeded Johnson 5-4 in the second semifinal. Westfield and Johnson also previously split UCC-Watchung Division games, with Johnson winning 5-4 at home on April 4 and Westfield 10-2 at home on April 30.
Westfield won its second straight, while Johnson lost for the second time in a row.
Westfield reached the final two years ago for the first time since last winning the title in 1998. The Blue Devils fell to the Highlanders 8-1 at Cougar Field. That was GL’s first championship since 2001 and its first under present head coach Rick Iacono, who took over the reigns from the late Jerry Britt in 2002.
GL won its championships in 1997, 1999, 2001, 2011 and 2012.
Westfield, which captured the first UCT title in 1976, also won in 1978, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1990 and 1998. Westfield was the first team to win three championships in a row.
GL, which is in the final for the fourth straight season, will attempt to become the fourth team to win three titles in a row.
Union, which has won the most crowns with 11, won a record six straight from 1991-1996.
Cranford, which is tied with GL for the most county crowns with five, captured three in a row from 2006-2008.
Westfield swept GL in UCC-Watchung Division play, winning 7-2 at GL on April 9 and 3-2 at home on May 7.
“It’s always tough to beat a good team three times, but we’ll be ready,” MacDonald said.
GL SAVES ITS BEST FOR LAST
Down to its final five outs, without a run and trailing by three, two-time defending champion GL saved its best for last.
The Highlanders scored three times in the bottom of the sixth to tie New Providence and then scored the game’s final run in the seventh when leadoff batter Taylor Hendrzak walked with the bases loaded.
Third-seeded New Providence was in control until the bottom of the sixth before second-seeded GL came back to top the Pioneers 4-3 in Saturday’s first semifinal at Cougar Field.
On a 3-1 count with two outs, GL junior catcher Kacie Worswick delivered a two-run single to center field to tie the game at 3-3. GL’s first run was produced as the result of a throwing error after a sacrifice bunt attempt by Missy Quinn.
GL No. 9 batter and lefty-swinging Colleen Frank – who led off the inning with an infield hit to third – came around to score on the play, which finally got the Highlanders on the scoreboard and started to give them momentum.
After winning pitcher, senior right hander Jordan Robbins, retired New Providence on just hit in the top of the seventh, GL wasted no time getting a runner in scoring position in the bottom of the seventh.
Robbins was also the winning pitcher in the past two UCT championship games.
Sophomore Stephanie Bade drilled a shot to left-center that hit the fence on one bounce, giving GL a leadoff double. Payton Murphy then reached on a bunt single and stole second, putting runners on second and third with nobody out.
New Providence pitcher Cassandra Squeri then walked No. 9 batter Colleen Frank on a 3-2 pitch to load the bases. That was the senior right hander’s first base on balls.
With no margin for error, Squeri threw four more balls, with GL courtesy runner Lauryn DiStasio crossing the plate for the game-winning run.
After Johnson took a 1-0 lead as the result of a two Westfield errors in the top of the first, Westfield came right back to score four runs on five hits in the bottom of the inning to take the lead for good against the Crusaders, who were seeking to win the UCT for the first time since 1981.
CRISCUOLO, SCARANO, SEITZ SPARK WESTFIELD
Westfield junior Julia Criscuolo produced the game-winning hit, which was a two-run double that put the Blue Devils ahead from that point at 3-1. Winning pitcher Elena Scarano made it a 4-1 game when she delivered a run-scoring single.
Another important insurance run was produced in the fifth when Westfield senior Natalie Tupper made it 5-1 after connecting on an RBI-single to center.
Johnson pulled to within 5-4 in the top of the sixth following a three-run homer blasted over the left field fence by senior catcher Stephanie Teixeira, who was 2-for-3 on the day, including a strikeout and a single.
It was only the second home run hit over a fence that Scarano gave up this year, the first one coming in a 10-0 loss at Watchung Hills on May 1.
After giving up a single following the round-tripper, Scarano retired the last four batters she faced, including a 1-2-3 seventh that came with the help of a nice catch made in center field.
“Elena adjusted fine after the home run,” MacDonald said. “She’s so cool for us mentally.”
Standout senior Sarah Seitz, Westfield’s No. 9 batter, went 3-for-3, including a double in the third and singles in the fourth and sixth.
Johnson sophomore center fielder Stephanie Donah hit the ball hard and deep and also displayed a very strong throwing arm.
NOTES: This will be the fourth straight championship game played at Kean.
Here are the scores from the first three:
2012: Gov. Livingston 9, New Providence 2
2011: Gov. Livingston 8, Westfield 1
2010: Cranford 4, Gov. Livingston 3
3-NEW PROVIDENCE (12-4) 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 – 3 9 1
2-GOV. LIVINGSTON (14-7) 0 0 0 0 0 3 1 – 4 8 0
Gov. Livingston senior RH Jordan Robbins (11-5)
7 innings complete: 3 runs (all earned), 9 hits, 4 strikeouts, 1 walk
New Providence senior RH Cassandra Squeri (9-4)
6 innings, plus 4 batters complete: 4 runs (3 earned), 8 hits, 1 strikeout, 2 walks
DOUBLES: New Providence – Elizabeth Mohan, Kelsey Quinn. Gov. Livingston – Stephanie Bade 2.
TRIPLES: New Providence – Jenna Madden. Gov. Livingston - None.
HOME RUNS: New Providence - None. Gov. Livingston - None.
4-JOHNSON (10-9) 0 0 1 0 0 3 0 – 4 8 0
1-WESTFIELD (17-5) 0 0 4 0 1 0 0 – 5 11 2
Westfield junior RH Elena Scarano (12-2)
7 innings complete: 4 runs (3 earned), 8 hits, 5 strikeouts, 0 walks
Johnson sophomore RH Emily Bailey (7-5)
6 innings complete: 5 runs (all earned), 11 hits, 1 strikeout, 1 walk
DOUBLES: Johnson – Jamie Cheeka. Westfield – Sarah Seitz, Julia Criscuolo, Elena Scarano.
TRIPLES:Johnson - None. Westfield - None.
HOME RUNS: Johnson – Stephanie Teixeira. Westfield - None.
38th ANNUAL SOFTBALL UNION COUNTY TOURNAMENT
SEEDS: 1-Westfield. 2-Gov. Livingston. 3-New Providence. 4-Johnson.
5-Rahway. 6-Elizabeth. 7-Roselle Park. 8-Dayton.
9-Cranford. 10-Linden. 11-Union Catholic. 12-Brearley.
13-Summit. 14-Scotch Plains. 15-Roselle Catholic. 16-Oak Knoll.
17-Kent Place. 18-Union. 19-Benedictine. 20-Plainfield.
Wednesday, May 1
Brearley 17, Hillside 0 - at Brearley
Union 15, Roselle Catholic 12 - at Roselle Catholic
Thursday, May 2
Summit 20, Plainfield 0 - at Summit
Scotch Plains 17, Benedictine 2 - at Scotch Plains
Kent Place 12, Oak Knoll 2 - at Oak Knoll
Friday, May 3
Gov. Livingston 11, Union 1 - at Gov. Livingston
Saturday, May 4
Brearley 13, Rahway 11 - at Rahway
Johnson 6, Summit 1 - at Johnson
Cranford 12, Dayton 5 - at Dayton
Westfield 16, Kent Place 1 - at Westfield
Roselle Park 6, Linden 5 (8 inn.) - at Roselle Park
Elizabeth 4, Union Catholic 2 - at Elizabeth
New Providence 15, Scotch Plains 0 - at New Providence
Friday, May 10
Johnson 5, Brearley 4 - at Johnson
Westfield 4, Cranford 0 - at Westfield
New Providence 3, Elizabeth 2 - at New Providence
Gov. Livingston 4, Roselle Park 0 - at Gov. Livingston
Saturday, May 18
At Kean University’s Cougar Field
Gov. Livingston 4, New Providence 3
Westfield 5, Johnson 4
Date To Be Determined after Sunday's postponement due to weather
At Kean University’s Cougar Field
2-Gov. Livingston vs. 1-Westfield
2012: Governor Livingston
2011: Governor Livingston
2004: Roselle Park
2003: Roselle Park
2001: Governor Livingston
1999: Governor Livingston
1997: Governor Livingston
1989: Union Catholic
1982: Roselle Park
1981: Johnson Regional
1979: Johnson Regional
1977: Scotch Plains
Championships: Union (11), Westfield (7),
Gov. Livingston (5), Cranford (5)
Roselle Park (3), Johnson Regional (2),
Scotch Plains (1), Linden (1), Union Catholic (1), Brearley (1).
copyright 2005 Sideline Chatter - comments - contact the webmaster