Darren Cooper | NorthJersey.com
Published May 31, 2022
CALDWELL – Immaculate Heart Academy moved too far in one instance and not far enough in another.
Those two literal missteps were huge factors in the Blue Eagles' 3-2 loss to Mount St. Dominic on Tuesday in the North Non-Public A final on the campus of Caldwell University.
As usual when these two teams get together, there’s brilliant play and strategy involved. Mount St. Dominic coach Rob Stern gambled in the top of the sixth inning, walking Blue Eagles star Jocelyn Moody to put the go-ahead run on, but it paid off as the next batter looped out to third.
It was a day when the Mountain Lions got a break that the Blue Eagles never did.
“I am proud of this group,” IHA coach Diana Fasano said. “These seniors, this is a great group of kids.”
What it means
It was revenge for Mount St. Dominic after a precocious bunch of Blue Eagles staged an improbable seventh-inning rally to win the sectional title last year on the same field.
The Mountain Lions, the reigning Essex County champs, will play South Non-Public A champion Donovan Catholic in the state final.
The loss also means that no Bergen County softball program won a sectional title in 2022. IHA (27-2) started and will likely end the season No. 1 in North Jersey but will have to replace a talented senior class led by Moody, shortstop Cara Kochakian and outfielder Gabby Park.
Go go! No no!
Arguably the most important play of the game came in the IHA fourth inning with Mount St. Dominic up 2-1. Freshman Gabby Shadek smacked a one-out single, bringing Moody to the plate. She had cracked a solo homer her first time up.
“I saw the ball coming in quick and I thought it was going to the cut-off,” Fasano said. “So then I stopped her and then when I saw it get past them, I sent her and it was too late. That’s my fault. I should have just sent her the whole time and she probably would have been safe.”
A second step
The second miscue was subtle. Fasano and the IHA bench motioned for left fielder Sofia Valente to move back a few steps before Olivia Bibbo’s at-bat in the sixth. Valente complied, but Bibbo was able to drill a ball into the corner for a stand-up triple. She scored what turned out to be the game-winning run.
“I was anticipating that she was too far in,” Fasano said. “I don’t know if that was the right move, it was tough.”
IHA scored in the sixth on a Shadek double, sending Moody to the plate with a chance to tie the game with a hit, but she was immediately walked. IHA didn’t get another hit.
Mount St. Dominic pitcher Sophia Kiseloski finished with eight strikeouts. Sydney Rosenkranz had the key hit with a two-run single in the third. Ironically, the Mountain Lions almost made the same mistake IHA made running the bases just before Rosenkranz’ hit when the runner on second stayed at third when she could have made it home.
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