The regular season is winding down for local softball teams as the Essex County Tournament concludes and the state tournament begins this week.
West Essex (10-7), the sixth seed, defeated No. 3 Nutley, 3-2, on Saturday, May 11, in the quarterfinals of the Essex County Tournament.
West Essex is the No. 7 seed in the NJSIAA North Jersey, Section 1, Group 3 tournament. The Knights will take on No. 10 Teaneck in the first round on Thursday, May 16.
Julia Vardiman led the Knights in the county tournament game against Nutley.
“Julia Vardiman threw a complete game and scored the first run of the game. She hit a double, and then advanced to third on an error. She scored on a wild pitch,” said West Essex head coach Andrea Mondadori Llauget. “In the third inning with two outs, Vardiman singled, advanced on Jess Coia’s double to left center, and then Jess Coia scored on a single up the middle by Jenna Sperduto.”
Mondadori Llauget added that defense was also key to the victory.
“Freshman shortstop Alissa Gallion was a standout defensively,” she said. “Making a diving catch to a ball hit up the middle and tossing it with her glove to Leah Buccino playing second to end the inning. If she doesn’t make the play, it would have resulted in Nutley taking the lead in the fifth inning.”
Vardiman allowed seven hits with six strikeouts, two earned runs, and three walks. Sperduto and Coia each had one RBI.
The Knights will next take on No. 2 Mount St. Dominic in the semifinals, scheduled for Friday, May 17, at Seton Hall University in South Orange. The championship game is set for Saturday, May 18.
“To beat Mount St Dominic, we will need to shut their offense down at the plate and play exceptional defense,” Mondadori Llauget said.
In a regular season game on Thursday, May 9, the Knights lost to Cedar Grove, 1-0. Vardiman struck out five and walked three and Sperduto recorded two hits.
The Knights were set to take on Millburn on Wednesday, May 15. Their last regular-season games are scheduled for Tuesday, May 21, against Caldwell, and Wednesday, May 22, against Nutley.
Fourth-seeded James Caldwell (14-8) lost to No. 5 Livingston, 11-6, in the quarterfinal round of the Essex County Tournament on Saturday, May 11.
The Chiefs are seeded No. 4 in the North Jersey, Section 2, Group 3 tournament. They will take on No. 13 Leonia on Thursday, May 16, in the first round.
The Knights lost to Verona, 6-5, on Wednesday, May 8. They defeated Millburn, 9-0, on Thursday, May 9, and McNair Academic, 15-2, on Friday, May 10.
They were set to take on Cedar Grove on Wednesday, May 15. Their last regular-season game is scheduled for Tuesday, May 21, against West Essex.
The Mount St. Dominic softball team is 19-3 and will play in the semfinal round of the Essex County Tournament.
The Lions, seeded No. 2, defeated No. 7 Verona, 3-0, on Saturday, May 11.
“Alison Winters pitched great, allowing only three hits and striking out 10,” said Mount St. Dominic co-head coach Rob Stern. “Krystin Smith went 2-3 with an RBI.”
The Lions will next play No. 6 West Essex in the semifinals at Ivy Hill Park at Seton Hall University in South Orange on Friday, May 17. The other semifinal has top-seeded Cedar Grove against No. 5 Livingston. The championship game is set for Saturday, May 18, also at Ivy Hill Park.
“We have to keep playing well,” said Stern on how his team can keep advancing in the tournament. “We are looking forward to be in the final four playing a well-coached West Essex team on Friday.”
Last season, Mount St. Dominic advanced to the championship game of the Essex County Tournament but fell short of winning its third straight county title.
The Lions earned the No. 2 seed in the NJSIAA North Jersey, Non-Public A tournament and has a first-round bye. They will play the winner of No. 7 St. Dominic and No. 10 Hudson Catholic on Thursday, May 23.
Last year, the Lions won their first NJSIAA North Jersey, Non-Public A tournament championship since 2014. It was the third straight year that they appeared in the sectional final. The Lions defeated top-seeded Immaculate Heart Academy in 11 innings in the semifinal round of the tournament. It was the first time that the Lions defeated IHA since 2014, when they defeated IHA in the sectional final. IHA defeated the Lions in the sectional final in 2016 and 2017.
In regular-season action, the Lions defeated Millburn, 14-3, on Monday, May 7. Kaylee D’Argenio and Kasey Sekula recorded four RBI and a run scored each. Alexa Raphael went 3-for-4 with two RBI and three runs scored. Emily Kilkeary and Dani Dabrowski each added an RBI and two runs scored. It was the ninth time this season that Mount St. Dominic scored in the double digits.
The Lions defeated Indian Hills, 7-1, on Thursday, May 9.
They broke the game open with five runs in the top of the seventh inning. Dabroski was 2-for-3 with three RBI and a run. Sekula was 2-for-3 with a run scored. Smith had two RBI and Raphael scored two runs. Sophia Kiseloski struck out seven, allowing one run, three hits, and a walk in the circle.
The Lions were set to take on Verona on Wednesday, May 15.
They are scheduled to play Red Bank Catholic on Thursday, May 16, and Nutley on Tuesday, May 21.