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Softball

Morris All-Stars have one last chance to shine

MONTVILLE _ When Montville pitcher Jordan Strickland suffered a severe ankle sprain in the second game of the season, Kristie Monaco was called upon to take over in the circle and didn't object. As it turned out, Strickland never returned and Monaco, an outfielder, kept firing pitches. That's why Mustangs coach John Immediato considered Monaco, a four-year starter, the "backbone of the team." The adaptable and versatile Monaco made her exit from softball on Tuesday, June 13, the date of the Morris County Senior Softball All-Star Game. Monaco, headed to Seton Hall University, will not play in college so the all-star game…

Hornets, Falcons go distance, fall short

MADISON _ Hanover Park and Jefferson put in marathon efforts in bids to extend their seasons but fell short in sectional semifinals. The Hornets' season ended with a 5-2 setback to Hackettstown in 10 innings in the North Jersey Section 2, Group II final on Wednesday, May 31. The Falcons were edged 5-4 by Ramsey in nine innings in the North Jersey Section 1, Group II title game on Tuesday, May 30. "It was nice to go out like that," Hanover Park coach Jamie Galioto said. "It was a nice year. I don't mind losing a 10-inning game. We played hard.…

Golden Eagles achieve desired outcome

FAIR LAWN _ Right fielder Jess Heitmann settled in under the fly ball in right field, caught it then raced to the infield to join her teammates and revel in the sectional title victory Morris Knolls had waited three years for. "This is great. I felt really confident today," Heitmann said of the Golden Eagles' 8-2 win over Fair Lawn that enabled them to hoist the North Jersey Section 1, Group IV trophy after being denied in 2015 and 2016. "Our team had a lot of energy and had momentum for the whole game. I didn't think it'd be so…

Knolls triumphs in 10th inning

DENVILLE _ When Morris Knolls' state game versus Bloomfield entered the 10th inning, Golden Eagles outfielder Melissa Ackerman was actually overjoyed. The score was tied, 3-3, and the international tiebreaker rule would go into effect. And, even when the visiting Bengals went up by a run in the top of the 10th, Ackerman, due to be up fourth in the lower half of the inning, was still OK. As it turned out, Ackerman got her chance in the batter's box and knocked in the game-winning run with two outs, lifting second-seeded Morris Knolls to a 5-4 victory over No. 6 Bloomfield…

Giaimo, Hornets back in sectional final

EAST HANOVER _ Prior to the season, Hanover Park coach Jamie Galioto had a conversation with Nikkiann Giaimo and requested that the senior catcher focus primarily on defense. "I told Nikkiann that whatever we got offensively was fine," Galioto said. "We need her for defense. I didn't want her worrying about anything else." Giaimo adhered to the plan, of course. She wasn't exactly laidback when at the plate. She simply didn't pressure herself. On Wednesday, May 24, Giaimo had a stellar day in the batter's box, rapping out two hits and driving in four runs to pace a 12-hit attack when…

Womer's HR ignites Gaels

PARSIPPANY _ Home runs always lift a team's spirits, as did the one hit by Roxbury's Hailey Womer in the first inning versus Parsippany Hills. The Gaels, after putting up four runs quickly, would hopefully not have to try to catch up as was the case when they fell to the Vikings a month ago. Womer's three-run blast, which came off a 1-0 pitch, put Roxbury up 4-0 on the way to a 9-3 win over Parsippany Hills on Monday, May 15, providing confidence and an early edge. "It increased our energy," said Womer, of the homer, her fifth this season.…

Historic title for Parsippany

ROXBURY _ Claudia Bennett and the majority of her Parsippany softball teammates will see the world through a euphoric haze for awhile. Twenty minutes after the Red Hawks put the finishing touches on their 8-5 victory over top-seeded Morris Knolls in the 2017 Morris County Tournament final to gain their first-ever title, Bennett could not fathom what had been accomplished. She expected the feeling to linger. "This is pretty surreal," said Bennett, the junior left fielder whose two-run home run in the five-run third inning was one of many highlights for seventh-seeded Parsippany. "I can't believe we just actually won. I'll have…

Morris County Softball Tournament semis

ROXBURY _ Parsippany had good reason to revel in its Morris County Tournament semifinal victory over Pequannock. It was a momentous occasion, considering the Red Hawks had not been to the Final Four since 1986, the same year they advanced to their only MCT final.  Winning pitcher Caitlin Brennan, who dazzled with a two-hitter and five strikeouts in the 7-1 win over the Golden Panthers on Monday, May 8 at Landing Park, was beaming and jovial and considered the triumph "a milestone." Alivia Mercuro, Parsippany's third baseman, knew their ace, although in the zone from the first pitch to the…

Dedicated Borozan raps out 100th hit

MOUNT OLIVE _ The milestone was getting closer and Mount Olive coach Bill Romano noticed that Alyssa Borozan, always calm inthe batter's box, was beginning to become anxious. "Alyssa was taking deep breaths," Romano said. "She usually doesn't do that. Maybe she was feeling a little pressure. I told her 'Just hit it hard somewhere.' Alyssa was going to get the hits. She had to relax." Borozan, a junior left fielder and pitcher, ceased the uncharacteristic fretting and cleared her head. On April 29, in the seventh inning of the Marauders' Morris County Tournament quarterfinal-round game against Pequannock, Borozan rapped out her 100th career hit -…

O'Shea, Schey boost Knolls

DENVILLE _ It seems like Breanna O'Shea will be sharing her bat for awhile. O'Shea, Morris Knolls' senior left fielder, loaned her bat to teammate and close friend Allie Schey after the knob fell off Schey's bat during practice before a game two days ago. After breaking out of a deep slump with two hits, one of them a double, in the Golden Eagles' 5-1 Morris County Tournament quarterfinal victory over Kinnelon on Saturday, April 29, Schey is convinced the Louisville Slugger bat is "magical." "I finally got out of that slump. I'm killing it now," said Schey, a senior…