Central coach Steve Stout knew his squad was in for a major test Monday, especially after Pinelands beat defending South III champion Kingsway two days ago.
“That was a quality win for Pinelands on Saturday, and I knew they were a tough team,” said Stout, whose Golden Eagles went on to score a 6-2 Class B South victory over the Wildcats after winning pitcher Stephanie Pepper blasted a grand slam in the bottom of the fifth. “This is a huge win and it puts us back in the fight for the division. We’re going to try and build on this momentum.”
The Wildcats (5-2, 4-1) grabbed a 2-0 lead in the top of the third inning and pitcher Emma Neuweiler was cruising along, allowing just two hits through the first four innings. But in the fifth, Central (4-1, 4-1) got the big hits. when it counted.
With Lindsay Mahnken, who reached on an error, on first base with two outs, Vicky Nucci tripled to right-center field to score Mahnken and cut the deficit in half. Nucci then scored on a passed ball to knot the game at 2. After Brittany Buehrer walked, Brittany Oldehoff singled and Kayla Heline was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Pepper 2-for-3, whacked the first pitch she saw over the left-center field fence to make it a four-run game. Pepper struck out seven and walked one. Pinelands’ Stephanie Healy was 2-for-3.
TR SOUTH 2, TR NORTH 0: Senior pitcher Danielle Gabriel fanned 14 while allowing two hits and two walks, and during the third inning singled in Patricia Gantner with the eventual game-winner, as the Indians (4-2, 3-2) handed the Mariners (5-1, 4-1) their first loss of the season in a Class A South clash.
In the bottom of the third, Gantner, who was 2-for-3, led off with a triple before Gabriel, also 2-for-3, singled her in for a 1-0 lead. After Sam Vogel, who went 2-for-2, doubled to center with one out, she went to third on a wild pitch before Harley Gowdy reached on an error to make it 2-0.
In the top of the fifth, the Mariners had the bases loaded with one out but Gabriel struck out Sam Reilly and got Riley Vukovich to fly out to left to end the threat. Gabriel allowed two singles, one each to Sam Salomon and Ashley Hussey.
“We got out of a tough spot in the fifth and our girls made some excellent plays in the field to keep North off the board,” said South coach Tom Malek. “Danielle pitched really well, and this was a nice win for us.”
FREEHOLD TWP. 4, MIDD. SOUTH 0: Senior pitcher Jordyn White scattered four hits and struck out 11, and Marissa Barnesa singled in the eventual game-winner, as the Patriots (5-2, 4-1) downed the Eagles for the first time since 2002 in a 10-inning A North contest.
“This is huge for our program,” said Freehold Township coach Beth English, whose team is now tied with Middletown North for the division lead. “It took the whole team to win this one. We made some big defensive plays that saved us.”
With the bases loaded in the top of the 10th and a run already in, a wild pitch allowed Nadine Bischoff to score from third, before Ashley Eisenstein singled to score Katie Liberi and Barnes, who went 4-for-5, with the third and fourth runs.
South pitcher Alli Podmajersky fanned 13 and walked one.
MIDD. NORTH 3, HOWELL 1: The Lions erased a one-run deficit in the fourth when Kristi Micelli singled to left field to score Amber Frick with the tying run, before Kate Quinn singled to center to bring in Kelly Rasmussen with the game-winner, as North went on to win in A North. Marie Bartow, Jacqui Coulahan and Quinn, who drove in two runs, each had two hits for North (4-2, 4-1).
RB CATHOLIC 4, MANASQUAN 2: Anne Flego went 4-for-4 while Jackie Strully finished 2-for-3, Emily Simon allowed five hits and no walks while fanning four, as the Caseys (5-5, 5-1) won their fifth straight. RBC (5-1, 5-1) scored once in the first and twice in the second to get out to a 3-0 lead, then added another run in a A Central victory over the Warriors (3-2, 2-2).