The win, no doubt, calmed Pequannock, seeking its first state title since 2009, yet also charged it up.
"I feel so much better going forward now that this game is over," Toback said. "The other teams (Hammonton and Robbinsville) are tough. We need to be ready. Tonight, we tried to come out strong."
The first inning saw Pequannock, which will face Robbinsville at 8 p.m. in a winners' bracket game on Saturday, July 14, score twice. Toback, who later singled, knocked in the first run with a groundout. A dropped third strike enabled the second run to score.
Pequannock sent eight runners to the plate in a four-run second inning. The inning was riddled with walks and errors. There were steals, too, as Pequannock took advantage of its speed. Skyler Troast knocked in a run with a base hit to widen Pequannock's lead to 6-1.
In the third inning, Pequannock further padded its advantage with two more runs.
Catcher Katie Dara, who has swung a hot bat of late, made two stellar defensive plays in the bottom of the third, throwing out a pair of Rutherford runners attempting to steal second.
Dara then came through big in her next at-bat, taking a first-pitch offering and ripping the ball to left-center field for a two-run triple. Emma Carr followed with a double, knocking in Dara, before Sydney Valent sent a bloop base hit over first base for an RBI.
Carr has benefited from taking batting lessons from Bob Frassa at DiChiaro Baseball & Softball Academy in Fair Lawn. Frassa's best tip?
"(Frassa) told me to have my foot at a 45-degree angle," Carr said. "I was popping up a lot to the same place. The ball would go to shallow left field or shortstop."
Carr, whose mother, Kristin, is Pequannock's manager, was very glad to notch the victory and move on.
"We worked really hard," Carr said. "We played as a team. We made some mistakes but nothing that bad. We've got a good chance in this tournament if we do our best."
Hannah Brizek and Brittany Shalongo combined for a two-hitter versus Rutherford. Each pitcher went two innings. Shalongo, the cousin of Montville High School ace Jessica, was elated by the showing and looked forward to advancing through the bracket. Both girls take lessons from Christy (Vuono) Vetere, the former Morris Hills High School standout, at Play 2 Win Academy in Rockaway.
"I was pleased to get a few strikeouts and I got the last out (fielding a grounder for an out at first)," Shalongo said. "We really needed to win this game. If we had lost, it would've been really hard."
The elder Carr saw much that she liked and hopes it carries over to future games here.
"We take what happened and want to build on it," Kristin Carr said. "We're going to work on some things. All you can do is take it one game at a time. The girls need to be on. They need to come to play every day."