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Montville first baseman Brittany Presto prepares herself defensively in the field vs. Whippany Park in Tuesday afternoon's Morris County Tournament first round action in Montville. She walked, singled and reached on an error in three at bats as Mustangs advanced with 6-0 win. (Photos by Sean Reilly)
Montville coach John Immediato talks to his Mustangs after Tuesday's win
Montville's Jess Shalongo prepares to deliver pitch during her strong outing in the circle for the Mustangs as she pitched team to a 6-0 first round win.
Whippany Park's enthusastic bench, led by Courtney Boag (21), urges on Wildcats in their efforts to stage comeback vs. Montville in MCT 1st round.
Shalongo Strong In The Circle
MONTVILLE -- As far as Montville pitcher Jess Shalongo was concerned, it was not the ideal way to begin her biggest game so far this season.
First, her bat didn't pass the pre-game inspection from the umpires they judged it to be broken. Then, her usual in-game drink wasn't delivered. But perhaps most of all, she had to start the game pitching in a steady rain.
``It wasn't the best way to start,'' she said. ``The worst thing of all was the rain. That's a pitcher's worst enemy.''
Shalongo borrowed a teammate's bat, went on without her beverage and then benefited from some clearing skies when she pitched fifth-seeded Montville to a 6-0 triumph over 12th-seeded Whippany Park in the first round of the Morris County on Tuesday afternoon.
Shalongo threw a four-hitter, with seven strikeouts and two walks for Montville (7-4). Three of those hits came while it was raining during the first two innings.
Montville struck for three runs with two out in the bottom of the second. Ninth-batter Tammy Lake came up with the bases loaded and hit a low pop-up that fell between the back-pedaling third baseman and oncoming shortstop. Leadoff batter Sammie Booth then ripped a two-run double to left-center field.
``It helps me so much when I'm pitching with a lead,'' Shalongo, a senior right-hander, said. ``It gives me confidence knowing my team is behind me.''
The Mustangs padded their lead in the third inning. Rachel Inglesino reached on an error with one out and Jade Tungul followed with a home run over the fence in left center field. It was her second blast of the season.
Shalongo, meanwhile, pitched to the minimum number of batters over the the third, fourth and fifth innings. Whippany Park (5-5) got a leadoff walk from catcher Rachel Grabowski in the fourth, but her courtesy runner was promptly thrown out stealing by Lake.
Montville then added a run in the bottom of the fifth when Tungul led off with a walk and later scored on a two-out error.
Montville was especially motivated for the game, since it was beaten by Whippany Park, 12-2, in last year's MCT final.
``That was definitely on our minds,'' Tungul said. ``Last year's game didn't go so well for us so this time we wanted to get them.''
``We were pumped up for this,'' she said. ``We wanted to get revenge. This is the senior year for a lot of us and we want to make things happen.''
Montville coach John Immediato was impressed with how his team performed,
``At first, I didn't think we'd get the game in,'' he said. ``I'm glad we did. I wasn't worried about them thinking too much about last year's game. It was more of a motivational tool for them. The key was that were able to jump out on top. Then we were relaxed and were able to play our game.''
Notes: Booth, who normally plays third base for Montville, was instead in the lineup as the designated player because of a sore shoulder. Inglesino played third for the Mustangs. ... The first five players in the Montville order hit safely, with No. 2 batter Cayleigh Aslanian and sixth-batter Tungul finishing with two hits apiece. ... Cleanup batter Jamie Rehus continued her torrid hitting for Whippany Park, She was 2-for-3 on the day and has had multiple hits in four of the past five games.
MORRIS COUNTY TOURNAMENT FIRST ROUND RESULTS
1-Butler 2, 16-Mendham 0
8-Madison 7, 9-Morris Hills 6
5-Montville 6, 12-Whippany Park 0
20-Chatham 7, 4-Jefferson 6
2-Morris Knolls 5, 18-Parsippany Hills 1
7-Robury 7, 10-Boonton 3
11-Randolph 6, 6-West Morris 2
14-Morristown at 3-Pequannock, ppd., rain. (New time: Wed., 4 p.m.)
MORRIS COUNTY TOURNAMENT QUARTERFINAL SCHEDULE
(All games on Saturday, times TBA)
Madison at Butler
Chatham at Montville
Roxbury at Morris Knolls
Morristown at Randolph or Randolph at Pequannock
Follow Sean Reilly on Twitter @SeanReillyHS
Whippany Park's Alison Gleichmann bats against Montville Tuesday
Whippany Park pitcher Brittany Funicelli prepares to deliver a pitch