RINGWOOD _ It didn't take long for Bob Costello to sense that Morristown National could be in for trouble in the Junior Little League Section 1 Tournament finale.
The first three Ridgewood batters took their turns in the batter's box and all of them reached safely - on errors.
Those early miscues, combined with several hits, left Morristown National in a 5-0 hole after an inning of play. Morristown National was unable to recover and fell 13-1 to Ridgewood in the last game of the section tournament on Sunday, July 12.
"The floodgates opened after those three errors," said Costello, who noted that all of Ridgewood's runs in the first inning were unearned. "Our defense has performed well but it really struggled today."
One day earlier, Morristown National suffered its first setback of the double-elimination tournament, also to Ridgewood, 6-4. Morristown National held a 4-1 lead in that game but it was erased when Ridgewood struck for five runs in the fifth inning.
"Ridgewood has good pitching and good defense," Costello said. "Maybe we were a little too impatient with some of our swings. It was frustrating that we didn't score more runs. Every day is not going to be your best day at the plate."
Morristown National managed only six hits, two by Molly Murphy, in the second game versus Ridgewood. That was an issue as well.
"We never put any pressure on them offensively," Costello said. "Against a team like Ridgewood, coming back from a 5-0 deficit is a tall order. We didn't drive the ball. We put it into play but not with authority."
The lone player to have two hits for Morristown National on Sunday was Molly Murphy. The only run was scored when Olivia Benvenuto walked and Jackie Rhoades singled to right field to knock her in.
On Sunday in the second game, Morristown National had two runners on and one out in the second, fourth and sixth innings yet did not capitalize. Grace Pezutti pitched for Ridgewood on Sunday, limiting Morristown National to six hits. She struck out one and walked one. Lizzie Hannefey, who pitched a complete game with eight strikeouts, was in the circle on Saturday.
Morristown National came out fired up on Saturday and pulled in front, 4-1. Madeleine Swift had a two-run base hit in the first inning for 2-0. Ridgewood made it 2-1 on an error. Morristown National then scored two more times in the second inning on a two-run base hit by Rhoades. Ridgewood's five-run fifth featured Liz Policano's two-run single and run-producing base hits by Chloe Lennon, Hannafey and Kristen Yee.
Costello credited the 12-year-old Murphy, penciled in as the starting pitcher every game throughout the district and section, for her reliability.
"Everyone contributed but, really, we rode our pitcher," he said. "Molly pitched very, very well."
Of course, Morristown National was disappointed but has much to be proud of.
"Losing in the section doesn't diminish the fantastic season the girls had being district champs," Costello said. "They were outplayed in the last two games. A good team beat us. Many of the players return next season. There's a lot to look forward to. It's been a fun few weeks."
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Richard Rhoades Tuesday, 14 July 2015 06:47 Comment Link
Want to thank Sandy for all the support she has given to MNLL over the years.We cannot thank you enough for your coverage and pictures of our all star girls.Hope to see you around the fields next season...