PEQUANNOCK _ Julia Vincent certainly knows how to operate all the angles.
The Parsippany freshman used her expert softball diamond geometric knowledge to go 3 for 4 with a triple, a home run, a walk and six RBIs in slugging the Red Hawks to an 18-12 victory over Indian Hills on Saturday, April 15 at the Hillview School in Pompton Plains.
Vincent, the leadoff batter, had a solo home run in the third inning, a three-run triple in the fourth inning and added a walk with the bases loaded in the sixth and a run-scoring single in the seventh.
With the Indian Hills outfield defense moving up and aligning against Vincent as a pure slap hitter in the third, she muscled up and belted her home run to the deepest part of right field. That gave the Red Hawks a 3-2 lead.
In the fourth, with Indian Hills again shortening up a bit, Vincent rifled a three-RBI triple into left field, igniting a four-run uprising that rallied Parsippany from a 5-3 deficit into a 7-5 lead.
"Usually everyone plays me as a slap hitter pulled over to the left side so I pulled the ball hard to right for the home run," said Vincent, a left-handed batter. "Then, the next time up,when I saw they had made a few fielding adjustments, I went the opposite way to left field and everything really worked out well both times. I just tried to hit the ball where they weren't and it went into the gap both times."
In the back-and-forth affair, Indian Hills tallied two runs in the bottom of the fifth to deadlock the game again, 7-7, on a triple by sophomore Merrick Gourhan and run-scoring singles from senior Caitlyn Logatto (2-for-3, 2 RBI) and junior Maria DeOliveira (two RBIs).
Gourhan hit for the cycle for Indian Hills, going 4 for 5 with 5 RBIs - ripping a double in the first, a single in the third, a triple in the fifth and a home run in the sixth. Senior right fielder Julia Blezow had a two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh to account for the game's final two runs for the Braves from Oakland.
"Both teams were really resilient. There have been quite a few high-scoring games so far this season," said Indian Hills 20th-year head man Joe Leicht, also the Wayne Valley boys basketball coach."We had that one bad inning. If we had given up only three or four runs there, we still would have had an opportunity later in the game to come back."
Indian Hills has one of the very best softball programs in Bergen County, winning two BCT championships (in 2010 and 2014) and three state titles in the last eight seasons with Group III state titles in 2013 and 2014 and a Group II crown in 2010. In that 2014 campaign Indian Hills went 34-0 and was the final No. 1 team in the state as the Braves were also the top overall team in New Jersey in 2010. Leicht has a 454-133 record in 20 seasons at the helm of the Oakland school's softball team.
In addition, Leicht has won over 500 games in boys basketball (528-341) in a career that started at Indian Hills in 1981 with a 283-209 mark at the Oakland school in 21 seasons and 245-132 record at Wayne Valley over 14 seasons.
Parsippany has made its mark, too, for fifth-year coach Greg Cleary, whose Red Hawks have won two straight North 2, Group II state titles and have gone 52-15 over the last three seasons. Parsippany made it to the Group II semifinals in both 2015 and 2016, falling to the eventual state champion (Ramsey in 2015 and NV/Demarest in 2016 in the Group II semifinals.
"Our bats really came alive and I'm really happy with the way we turned in a quality team performance against a very good Indian Hills team," said Cleary, whose team banged out 18 hits compared to 13 hits for the Braves. "We have a lot of confidence that we can achieve some good things again this season because we have a good mix of experience (seven returning starters) and some really promising freshmen (including Vincent, third baseman Michelle Ebel and first baseman Gabriella Gennarelli). We have some really excellent team chemistry."
In addition to Vincent, junior left fielder Claudia Bennett (2 for 5) unloaded a grand slam home run to spark a 10-run top of the sixth that broke a 7-7 tie and gave the Red Hawks a 17-7 lead. Senior center fielder Meg Leitner, a four-year starter, went 3 for 4 with a triple, home run, three runs scored and three RBIs for Parsippany.
Senior right-hander Caitlin Brennan, a four-year starter, picked up the win by throwing a complete game, striking out six and walking four against the strong-hitting Braves. Brennan threw 13 innings overall on Saturday, including tossing a six-hitter, striking out eight and walking five in six innings in a 3-0 loss to host Pequannock in the first game of the tournament on Saturday morning.
Parsippany is now 4-2 and Indian Hills, which defeated Butler (2-4), 6-1, in the morning game, is 5-4.