Just call it the old logjam in Shore Conference Class A North.
With Howell beating Middletown North, 7-0, and Middletown South knocking off Freehold Township, 9-3, on Friday, the A North division became a big mess heading into the last of the divisional matchups on Tuesday, and the possibility that four teams could finish atop the standings.
On Tuesday, Colts Neck and Marlboro can play spoiler roles when they meet up with Middletown North (8-3) and Freehold Township (8-3), respectively, while a Howell (7-4) victory over Middletown South (8-3) would cause four teams to finish with identical division records.
The Rebels set up the colossal clash with the Eagles by getting out to a 2-0 lead after three and scoring five runs in the bottom of the sixth to score the win over the Lions on Friday, as Kelly Hardiman led the way with a 3-for-4 effort that included two doubles. In the first, AnneMarie Bartow led off the game with a double to left-center and scored after Hardiman and Jackie Coulahan each singled to give Howell (11-4 overall) the initial lead.
Alyssa Ruiz remained in control from there, as she allowed four hits and three walks while striking out four.
Meanwhile, in Freehold, Middletown South broke a 3-3 tie in the top of the sixth with four runs.
After Veronica Zega singled to lead off and was sacrifice bunted to second by Alex Corrigan, Erin Cotterell singled before Taylor Dreur, running for Cotterell, stole second and Grace Heller walked to load the bases. Tiffany Lambert then walked to make it a 4-3 game.
Heller, who was 3-for-4 with two RBI, slugged a solo homer to left in the first to give the Eagles (12-5 overall) the initial lead. Podmajersky scattered six hits and walked two while fanning 10 for the victory.
PINELANDS 7, JACKSON LIB. 2: Naomi Stas struck out eight, walked none and allowed five hits, and Stephanie Healy was 2-for-3 and crushed a three-run homer to center to cap the scoring, as the Wildcats (14-4) advanced to the Ocean County Tournament semifinals, where they will face second-seeded Toms River East.
Clinging to a one-run lead heading into the bottom of the sixth, Kurstin Binshedler started things off with a leadoff walk and was bunted to second by Shannon Herron. An infield single to Lyndsay McClellan put runners at the corners for Breanna Wilson, the team’s leading hitter, who delivered an RBI single to make it 4-2, before Healy belted her three-run blast.
Healy and Emma Neuweiler each had two hits. Amy Hickman went 2-for-3 to lead Liberty (10-6).
KEYPORT 6, SHORE 3: The Red Raiders scored three in the top of the sixth to break a 2-2 tie en route to the Monmouth County Tournament Blue Division quarterfinals victory. Angie Torentino led off with a single and scored on a three-base error, beating the throw to home, for the game-winner. Rebecca Micholas was 2-for-4 with three RBI, while Danielle Piccini and Cheyenne Tango each added two hits.