Once pitcher Irene Margiotta fielded a grounder and threw to first base for the final out, she and her teammates were relieved.
Mendham, accustomed to close encounters, scratched out a 5-4 victory over Pitman on Friday night in the first game of the state tournament in Elmer.
“We had to hold on again,” Mendham manager Lori Margiotta said. “It was tight throughout. Pitman was a good team. They made a lot of good plays.”
Following a breakout fifth inning when Mendham scored three runs on Margiotta’s RBI single and two errors to gain a 5-2 lead, Pitman fought back, scoring runs in the fifth and seventh innings.
Despite the threat, Mendham was determined to hold on.
Singles by Michelle Stanton and Geena Santomo produced Mendham’s first run in the third inning, enabling it to tie the score, 1-1.
In the fourth inning, Mendham pulled ahead, 2-1. Nikkey Skuraton and Margiotta singled before Courtney Luing picked up an RBI with a groundout. Pitman wasted no time, knotting the score in the lower half of the frame.
Mendham then had its three-run inning, scoring all of its runs with two outs. Tess Madarasz walked to get things started then Skuraton and Caroline Roch stroked base hits. Margiotta’s RBI base hit ensued.
Margiotta picked up the pitching victory with a four-hitter, striking out six.
Skuraton, the No. 2 batter, went 3 for 4 and scored twice out of the No. 2 spot. For Pitman, shorstop Rebecca Williams scored three runs, had three hits and walked.
“Nikkey’s been hitting great lately,” Irene Margiotta said. “She’s been on fire. All three of her singles were well hit.”
Mendham will play the winner of Roberto Clemente of Jersey City and Manchester tonight at 5 p.m. in Elmer.