A slew of unearned runs on Wednesday afternoon helped steer the Toms River North softball team to a key divisional win and keep it contention for a title.
Five of the Mariners’ runs were unearned and junior pitcher Ashley Hussey overcame trouble in the seventh inning to register a 6-3 win over Jackson Memorial in Shore Conference Class A South.
The win gives Toms River North (9-1, 8-1) a season-sweep over the Jaguars and enables it to remain tied with Toms River East in the division.
Hussey, who went 3-for-4 with three singles, yielded three unearned runs in the seventh, but struck out five and walked four while scattering seven hits to pick up her ninth win of the season.
Junior outfielder Riley Vuyovich and senior catcher Sarah Culp each had two hits, while freshman first baseman Brielle Cerchio went 3-for-4 for Toms River North.
OCEAN 10, MONMOUTH 0: Gianna Kinhofer struck out five and walked none over five innings to earn the win in a Monmouth County Tournament first-round game.
Kinhofer, a senior, went 2-for-3 with two RBI and two runs scored for the sixth-seeded Spartans (11-1) who await the winner of the first-round game between third-seeded Red Bank Catholic and 14th-seeded Howell.
Sabrina Batista went 2-for-3, including a two-run home run that opened the scoring in the bottom of the fourth inning. She had hree RBI and scored two runs.
MIDD. NORTH 6, RED BANK 5: After three consecutive singles to load the bases with one out in the bottom of the seventh, Audrey Thomas hit a grounder back to the pitcher and the throw home was high, as Jill Wallrabe scored the winning run for the fifth-seeded Lions (7-2) in an MCT first-round game against the 12th-seeded Bucs (7-3).
Wallrabe went 2-for-2, while Nikki Alfano finished 3-for-4 with a double, triple, an RBI and two runs scored. Amanda Kanski pitched 42/3 innings of relief for Middletown North to pick up her first win of the season.
DONOVAN 5, BARNEGAT 3: Junior pitcher Courtney Tyluki struck out three and walked one and went 2-for-4 with a two-RBI single in the first inning, as the Griffins (6-3, 5-2) took a 5-0 lead after three innings in defeating the Bengals (4-8, 2-4) in Class B South.
For Barnegat, Ryann Farley went 2-for-3 with an RBI single in the sixth inning.
CENTRAL 3, JACKSON LIBERTY 0: Sophomore pitcher Stephanie Pepper struck out 11 and walked three as part of a complete-game, two-hit shutout for the Golden Eagles (9-1, 8-1) against the Lions (5-5, 4-3) in Class B South.
Junior Kylie Smolock’s two-RBI triple in the bottom of the first inning was followed in the sixth inning by a solo home run from senior Kayla Heline. Smolock finished the day 2-for-3, while Heline was 1-for-2.
BRICK MEMORIAL 9, SOUTHERN 8: Alahna Reeves and Casey Charterina each went 2-for-4 and drove in two runs as the Mustangs (2-6, 2-6) outlasted the Rams (1-8, 1-7) in Class A South.
MATER DEI PREP 13, ST. ROSE 4: Lauren Chesa went 3-for-5, drove in two runs and scored two and Jackie Nash (8-0) struck out seven as the visiting Seraphs (9-0, 9-0) beat the Purple Roses (6-4, 6-3) in Class B Central.
Nash (8-0) who went the distance, allowed four earned runs on nine hits and walked four. Mater Dei’s Jordan Donahue opened the fourth with a homer. Caitlyn Kretzmer slugged a two-run homer in the third for St. Rose.