Before Luis Severino takes the mound for the New York Yankees to face the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday night, Cedar Grove’s own heralded pitcher will toe the rubber.
The Cedar Grove (N.J.) softball team, the Group 1 champions this season, will be introduced prior to the game at Yankee Stadium. The Panthers’ sophomore pitcher Mia Faieta will throw out the first pitch before the Yankees take on the Baltimore Orioles.
Throughout Cedar Grove’s tournament run, head coach Nicole Velardi said she used the Stadium trip as motivation.
“When we found out like a week ago that was like our goal,” Velardi said. “’Hey guys if you keep winning you’re going to Yankee Stadium.’”
A representative from the New York Yankees contacted Velardi after Faieta received national attention for her 21-strikeout perfect game against North Warren in the North 1, Group 1 semifinals in May. Faieta and the Panthers continued their run to the Tournament of Champions semifinals. The sophomore pitcher threw four perfect games during the season, including one in the Group 1 finals against Metuchen.
“It’s awesome and what a huge honor for Mia that they recognized her hard work and that 21-strikeout game that she gets to throw out the first pitch,” Velardi said. “I’m still in shock that we’re even going and getting out on the field. I’m happy for the kids. It’s nice for them.”
It hadn’t been decided as of Friday who would catch Faieta’s first pitch. It could be a Yankees player, or Cedar Grove catcher Jules Cicala, according to the head coach.
The families of the Cedar Grove players were also invited to the game so they will bring a crew of around 100 people to the Bronx.
Most of the players are Yankee fans, but their head coach supports the Mets.
“It’s New York so I don’t mind,” Velardi said.
First pitch for Saturday is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. ET