Some teams would bicker or be offended by such brutal honesty. Not Morristown National, which shut out Pompton Lakes-Riverdale 16-0 in five innings to claim the Junior League Section 1 Softball Title at Veterans Field.
"We're very close. Very good friends," Guenther said. "We can critique, if needed, and do it with comfort. We know our limits."
The fact that they can be up front with one another is beneficial, according to Guenther. None of the players hesitate when it comes to speaking up. Center fielder Lauren Champi and third baseman Meg Donlin were in agreement about that important aspect.
It's undoubtedly one of the main reasons why Morristown National is headed to the state tournament for the third time in four years. They've never won the tournament which begins Friday, July 27 in Lodi. Morristown National faces the Section 2 champion at 6 p.m.
"We have a lot of chemistry," Donlin said. "Many of us have been together since we were 8 years old. We just want to get better."
Morristown National concluded the best-of-three series in two games and did not allow a run, a very impressive showing.
The 16-0 victory featured a combined two-hitter and 12 strikeouts by Lauren Conway, Sara Seuffert and Sam Feller. The pitchers were backed by a 17-hit attack and errorless defense.
"We are really, really happy," said Conway, the starting pitcher. "This is a great accomplishment for the program. We do well because we support each other. We have good friendships.
Conway, who will start the first game of the state tournament, went two innings, striking out five. She felt her fastball wasn't as "quick and accurate as usual" but she certainly got the job done before giving way to Seuffert.
Seven runners crossed the plate for Morristown National in the first inning. Champi got things started with a base hit and stolen base. Cleanup hitter Jess Quiroga doubled to knock in the first run. Conway, Katlyn Woebse, Feller, Champi and Seuffert had additional RBIs in the inning.
There was a four-run outburst in the second inning. The five-run third inning was highlighted by Seuffert's two-run double to left-center field. Seuffert, nicknamed "Boo," finished with three hits as did Champi.
"My hitting's been pretty good. I'm doing OK," Seuffert said. "It felt really good to get some hits. This was a big deal for us. We've wanted this for years."
Rachel Padula, No. 7 in Pompton Lakes-Riverdale's order, had both of her team's hits. Padula singled off a first-pitch offering with two outs in the second inning and opened the fifth inning with another base hit. She was aggressive, stealing second and third base in the fifth inning, but was left stranded as Feller notched three consecutive strikeouts.
Last year, Mendham advanced all the way to the Eastern Regional. To get there, Mendham had to get past Morristown National in the District 1 series, which was no easy task. The games were tense and hard-fought. However, this summer, Mendham did not field a team and Morristown National battled it out with Dover-Wharton in District 1 play.
"There was less pressure because Mendham wasn't playing," Champi said. "Now that we're in the states, we have to go far."
Being in the state tournament means a lot to players like Donlin, an All-Star for six years, and Guenther and Champi, both in their fifth year. Those three girls have been Morristown National's top hitters thus far.
"Losing to Mendham motivated the girls to want to come back," Morristown National manager Matt Guenther said.
The elder Guenther believes his squad will be competitive in the state tournament due to its depth, mainly at pitcher. Guenther has four players who can take to the circle.
"All 13 of our players are interchangeable," Matt Guenther said. "We can shuffle and still be competitive. Another key for us is good defense. When we don't make mistakes, everything works out better."