After an 0-3 start, Kinnelon has rebounded with a six-game winning streak.
The Colts have an outstanding pitcher in senior Megan Beiermeister and are solid at the corners with juniors Emily Kapr at third and junior Marissa Jacobia at first.
But Kinnelon’s quick recovery has been aided by a talented group of freshmen, led by Alexa Saccomanno, Samantha Schwed, Haley Angelica and Jessica Ratz.
“We’ve definitely experienced growing pains,” said Kinnelon coach Danielle Elia, who has fielded as many as six freshmen in her starting lineup. “But the freshmen have really been stepping up. They’ve played summer and travel ball together, and I think that’s making it an easier transition to high school for them.”
The new faces give the Colts strength up the middle with Saccomanno (.444, five RBI) the starting shortstop, Schwed (.473, seven RBI and who leads leading the team in extra base hits) behind the plate and Angelica in center field.
Batting out of the leadoff spot, Angelica is hitting .421 with a team-leading three stolen bases. Ratz holds down the starting spot in left and sophomore Julia Balick is in right.
“All of them have contributed extra base hits, runs and RBI, and it’s nice to have a large freshmen freshman class to step up and fill some holes,” Elia said. “Once the girls experienced their first win, they realized that this is nothing new. That first victory took some of the pressure off. They were able to turn their season around in a week, and now they know they have the capability to play at the high school level. They’re young, fast and talented, and now they are confident.”
Beiermeister, a hard-throwing right-hander who will play at Marist next season, has fashioned an ERA of 0.73, allowing six earned runs in 49 innings with 53 strikeouts.
Armed and dangerous
Butler senior right-hander Larissa Spellman threw a one-hitter with a season-high 18 strikeouts and also drove in the game-winning RBI run last Saturday to lead the Bulldogs to a 9-3 victory over High Point.
Spellman has allowed 15 hits and four earned runs in 47 innings this season for an ERA of 0.60 and has racked up 92 strikeouts. Butler’s leadoff hitter, Spellman is hitting .333 with one home run and seven RBI.
Booth a hit for Montville
After missing half of last season with a torn labrum, Montville senior Sammie Booth is back on track.
Booth, who is the Mustangs’ leadoff hitter, first baseman and pitches, surpassed Diane Naugle as Montville’s career leader in hits when she collected her 118th in a 5-4 loss to DePaul on April 9.
Booth, who set the school single-season hits mark with the 52 she collected as a freshman, has 18 hits this season to boost her career total to 131. For the year, she’s batting .514 with one double, two triples and six RBI. She’s 5-for-6 in stolen bases, has scored a team leading 19 runs and boasts a slugging percentage of .657.
Morris County Top 10
1. Butler (9-1)
2. Morris Knolls (9-3)
3. Jefferson (9-2)
4. Chatham (8-1)
5. Madison (5-4)
6. Mendham (5-4)
7. Montville (7-3)
8. Morristown (6-4)
9. Kinnelon (9-3)
10. Whippany Park (5-3)
Records through Tuesday