CALDWELL – The Mount St. Dominic Academy softball team is looking to repeat as Essex County Tournament champions and will continue its quest later this week.
The second-seeded Lions (19-5) defeated No. 10 Millburn, 10-0, in the quarterfinal round of the Essex County Tournament on Saturday, May 12. They will next play 11th-seeded Newark Academy on Friday, May 18, in the semifinals. Newark Academy defeated third-seeded West Essex, 7-5, in the quarterfinal round on Saturday, May 12.
“Newark Academy is a very well-coached team and we have played them in the past in the ECT,” said Mount St. Dominic co-head coach Rob Stern. “Newark Academy has a few dangerous hitters. We have to continue to hit and play great defense and pitch well as that is what wins championships.”
The Lions were led by Juliana Kocenski, who pitched a no-hitter with seven strikeouts, against Millburn. Dani Dabroski was 3-for-4 with three RBI and Sarah Taffet was 2-for-3 with two RBI.
Lady Lions focus is to play great defense
The other semifinal will feature No. 1-seeded Cedar Grove and fourth-seeded Verona and is also scheduled for May 18. The championship game is scheduled for Saturday, May 19. The semifinal and championship games will all be held at Ivy Hill Park at Seton Hall University.
“We have to win Friday first,” Stern said. “In any final, the focus is to play great defense and have one more run than the other team. Both teams (Cedar Grove and Verona) have great pitchers and solid teams.”
The Lions won their third Essex County Tournament title in four years and seventh overall last season.
“We have been in this spot many times and every season is a different group but the same expectations at the Mount,” Stern said. “We are very excited to still be in the event.”
Lions have won 13 straight games
The Lions have won 13 straight games and have not lost a game since April 20. They defeated Bloomfield, 12-1, on Wednesday, May 9, as Ali Winters hit a home run and a double and drove in six runs. Kocenski allowed five hits over five innings with two walks and nine strikeouts and also hit an RBI double. Kasey Sekula had two doubles with an RBI and scored a run. Kayla Oh had an RBI single.
The Lions defeated Indian Hills, 11-1, on Thursday, May 10. Dabroski had two hits, three runs, and two RBI. Taffet had two hits, two runs, and two RBI. Winters had two hits, two RBI, and a run.
Mount St. Dominic defeated Verona, 15-0, on Monday, May 14. Winters went 3-for-3 with four RBI and two runs. Winters and Kocenski combined on a two-hit shutout as Kocenski struck out five over three innings and allowed one hit and one walk. Dabroski was 2-for-4 with a home run, two RBI, and two runs. Johanna Rivera went 3-for-3 with two runs and an RBI. Taffet was 1-for-2 with three runs and two RBI, and Sekula went 2-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored.