Just prior to the season, senior pitcher Kendall Kiernan went down with a concussion after taking a ball to the head during a preseason game, forcing Manchester coach Mike Colombo to go without his four-year starter in the pitcher’s circle to start the season.
“It was kind of a shock to the team for her to go down and we missed her leadership on the field for the first couple of games,” Colombo said after his squad upended Barnegat, 4-0, in a Shore Conference Class B South contest on Thursday. “But she was cleared to come back earlier in the week and she’s bounced back in a big way.”
Against the Bengals, Kiernan allowed five hits and a walk while striking out four, then drilled an RBI double as part of a two-run sixth inning to help lead the Hawks (2-2, 2-2).
In the fourth, Nicole Penna gave Manchester a 1-0 lead when she slammed a solo home run to left-center field.
On Wednesday, the Hawks scored a wild 9-8 win over Point Pleasant Boro for their first win of the season.
“That win over Point Boro was the type of win we needed,” Colombo said. “Before that game, we didn’t have a lot of confidence. But with Kendall back, the girls felt more confident, and then getting that win gave us some momentum into today’s game against Barnegat. It’s important that our girls keep playing with that kind of confidence.”
MIDD. SOUTH 1, MARLBORO 0: Senior pitcher Alli Podmajersky fired a two-hitter, allowed no walks and fanned seven, as the Eagles (4-1, 3-1) rebounded from their loss to Colts Neck earlier in the week. Podmajersky now is 4-0 on the season.
The only run scored came in the third, when Grace Heller swatted a leadoff double and then scored on a bloop single off the bat of Julia Beck. Senior Sam Brinskelle was solid for the Mustangs (4-2, 3-2), allowing five hits and a walk while striking out four. Marlboro teammate Brooke Kaminski also whacked a double.
FREEHOLD 9, NEPTUNE 3: With the Colonials behind by a run going into the bottom of the fifth, Skylar Devorin belted a grand slam homer to left to make it a 6-3 game, before Gabby Romanowski secured the B North victory with a two-run blast to center two batters later. Kelly Nardine helped give the Scarlet Fliers a 2-0 lead in the second with a solo homer.
Neptune received solid efforts at the plate from Jasmie Hawkins, Christina Blue and Gabby DiLiberto, who each went 2-for-3. Devorin ended the game 3-for-5, while Gianna Spinelli went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles. Winning pitcher Madison DeJesus had four strikeouts and two walks.
MANASQUAN 3, HOLMDEL 2: After Katie Barnes and Cate Marotta singled, and Allyson Latourette walked to load the bases, Kaitlyn Anderson roped a single to left to give the Warriors the Class A Central victory. Anderson finished 3-for-4, as did Megan Gilly, whose RBI single in the sixth tied the game at 2-2. For Holmdel, Katie Frees was 2-for-3 with an RBI.
SJ VIANNEY 8, MONMOUTH 1: Trailing by a run heading into the third inning, the Lancers (5-1, 4-0) received a home run from Amanda Durham to tie the game, then grabbed the lead for good when Jackie Gallagher singled, Helena Coppola reached on an error, and two batters later winning pitcher Kate Beriont hit a single to right-center to score Coppola with the eventual game-winner. Beriont, who had two hits and two RBI, ended with 11 strikeouts and two walks, while Durham and Gallagher each finished with three hits and two RBI. Kate Baron was 2-for-2 with a double.
RED BANK 7, MATAWAN 0: Sop.homore hurler Katie Serkus walked five and struck out five as she fired a no-hitter for the Bucs (4-1, 4-1) in Class B North. Jess Stevenson broke things open with a three-run homer to left in the third inning. Briana Calabrese went 2-for-3 with an RBI.
FREEHOLD TWP. 8, COLTS NECK 1: Senior pitcher Jordyn White fanned 10 and walked one while allowing just three hits, as the Patriots cruised to the A North victory. Rhianna Rucinski, who went 2-for-2, bashed a bases-clearing double in the second inning to put the Patriots (4-2, 3-1) up for good, while teammates Sara Romanowski and Marissa Barnes each registered a pair of hits.
LACEY 8, SOUTHERN 2: With the Lions ahead 2-0, Paula Szczypinski blasted a two-run homer in the fourth to help pad the lead, and ended up 3-for-4 with a double and two RBI, as Lacey (3-3, 3-2) scored the Class A South victory. Junior Morgan Walizer allowed five hits to earn her second victory in the pitcher’s circle.
WALL 11, LONG BRANCH 1: Kirby Marron managed a no-hitter while striking out two and walking one, as the Crimson Knights remained undefeated overall and in B North. Wall smacked 14 hits as Amanda Pringle went 4-for-4, Sydney Canessa went 3-for-4, and Katie Kilgallen and Chickie Clayton each had a pair of hits.
MIDD. NORTH 17, MANALAPAN 7: Quinn Thornton went 3-for-4 and smashed a two-run homer to give the Lions a 7-0 lead in the second inning, and Kelly Rasmussen, who went 3-for-4, Nikki Alfano and Amber Frick each swatted a pair of doubles en route to an 18-hit barrage and the A North victory. For Manalapan, Jamie Denza went 3-for-3, while teammate Stephanie DiPietrantonio went 2-for-3 with a double. Winning pitcher Audrie Thomas had three strikeouts and one walk.
RB CATHOLIC 16, SHORE 5: Freshman Lindsay Benitez went 3-for-4 and drove in seven runs, while Brynne Bauman went 4-for-4 with a pair of RBI, as the Caseys (4-1, 4-1) rolled in A Central. Gabrielle Bram and Anne Flego each had two hits for RBC, while Lauren Shirly went 2-for-2 with an RBI and Sami Irace whacked a two-run double for the Blue Devils.
RARITAN 20, RUMSON-FH 0: Already leading 5-0 heading into the third, the Rockets (4-3, 4-2) put away the Bulldogs when Francesca Svoboda slammed a three-run homer and Danielle Marino, who went 5-for-5, followed with a solo shot to make it 9-0, as Raritan romped in A Central. Casey Bossert was 4-for-4, while Emily Schaffer went 3-for-5.