St. John Vianney ready for another title

St. John Vianney ready for another title

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St. John Vianney ready for another title

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St. John Vianney, the two-time defending NJSIAA softball Non-Public A champion, will have a rematch with Immaculate Heart Academy today for the Non-Public A title at 3 p.m. at Toms River High School East.

Last year, the Lancers toppled IHA, 10-2, but with a motivated and 31-0 IHA team ready for today’s rematch, St. John Vianney coach Kim Lombardi said she expects nothing but the best from her opponent.

“We really just have to come out prepared,” Lombardi said. “If we focus really hard, I believe we can win the game.”

The Lancers (27-3) will send ace Katie Beriont (21-2) to the mound against IHA’s Steph Thomas. According to Lombardi, Beriont missed the first six games of the season with a left elbow injury but has returned strong. In Beriont’s absence earlier this season, Ashley Ventura filled in.

“IHA has the same returning team from last year with the exception of one player,” Lombardi said. “I expect a very competitive game between us. They have a great coach, they play great defense and they have a great hitting team.”

The Lancers are also a good hitting team and Lombardi has confidence in everyone from leadoff hitter Amanda Durham to No. 9 hitter to Zoe Otterman.

“From 1 through 9 in our order, anyone can come through with a big hit,” Lombardi said. “We don’t depend on one or two hitters to carry us, we depend on the entire lineup.”

The Lancers have won 21 of their last 22 games with the only loss, an 8-7 setback to Wall in Wednesday’s Shore Conference Tournament final.

To get to the Non-Public A state final, St. John Vianney defeated Red Bank Catholic, 4-0; Bishop Ahr, 6-1; and Camden Catholic, 3-2, in eight innings in the Non-Public South A bracket.

Meanwhile, IHA has rolled along in its undefeated season with victories over St. Dominic, 15-0; Pope John, 2-0; DePaul Catholic, 4-3 in the Non-Public North A bracket.

The Blue Eagles last won the Non-Public A title in 2009 and their biggest hitting threat this year is their leadoff hitter Carly Ticcinich, who is going to play at the University of Notre Dame.

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