PEQUANNOCK _ Juliette Davis surely packs a powerful punch.
The Pequannock sophomore shortstop came within two feet or less of having the first three home run day of her career. Still, Davis' two over-the-fence blasts, along with a double and a walk, were more than enough to help propel the Golden Panthers past Parsippany Hills, 13-3, in five innings in a Morris County Softball Tournament first-round game on Wednesday, April 26.
Third-seeded Pequannock, which has won 12 of its last 14 games and had a 10-game winning streak earlier this season, will host the winner of Thursday's game matching 22nd-seeded Morristown at sixth-seeded Mount Olive (postponed from Wednesday by rain), in the MCT quarterfinals on Saturday, April 29.
Davis walked her first time up in the first inning then crushed a ball over 200 feet to lead off the third inning as it landed about a foot short of going over the left field fence. Later in the same inning, she belted two-run homer that went at least 10 feet over the left field fence to cap an eight-run explosion and she drilled a solo blast in the bottom of the fifth that cleared the left field barrier by at least 15 feet.
On the season Davis is batting .489 (23 for 47) with six doubles, six walks, 17 runs scored, four home runs and 18 RBIs. A year ago, the 5-foot-2 Davis broke onto the diamond scene as a freshman in a big way with 12 doubles, three home runs, 19 runs scored, 27 RBIs and a .487 batting average.
"I just want to contribute in any way I can to help the team out," Davis said. "Everybody in our lineup has been coming through for almost the entire season and that is why we have been successful so far. We just want to keep it up through the counties and on into the state tournament."
Pequannock is seeking its sixth MCT in school softball history this season, having won in 2000 and then under coach Maryann Goodwin the Golden Panthers (12-3) claimed four consecutive Morris crowns from 2009 through 2012. This spring, Pequannock leads the Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference-Independence Division with a 6-0 record.
Another key performer in the win over the Vikings was senior right-handed pitcher Jonnalyn McClain. She surrendered two first-inning runs but went on to throw a complete game five-hitter, striking out seven and walking five. McClain (10-3) has fanned 72 in 63 innings pitched.
"Parsippany Hills has some very fine hitters but I really settled down and found my rhythm after that first inning," said McClain."Our entire team is playing at a very high level and we're looking to maintain that consistency the rest of the way."
In addition to Davis and McClain, senior third baseman Jen Sigler (two RBIs), senior second baseman Mary Fahey (two RBIs), sophomore center fielder Val Florio (double and an RBI) and junior catcher Erin Dericks (single, walk, RBI) made an important impact.
Senior right fielder Hannah Brizek was also huge for the Golden Panthers by going 2 for 3 with a walk, two RBIs and two runs scored. She followed Davis' one-out homer in the bottom of the fifth with a home run of her own over the left field fence to end the game when she gave Pequannock its final 10-run margin. Brizek is batting .409 with a triple, two home runs, eight runs scored and 13 RBIs.
Parsippany Hills (5-9), the 19th seed, had upended 14th-seeded Whippany Park, 7-6, in a county tournament preliminary-round game on Saturday, April 22.
The Vikings took their 2-0 lead in the top of the first on a leadoff single by senior right-handed pitcher Kaila Rosamilia (2 for 3, run scored), a sacrifice bunt by junior catcher Juliet Campbell, a walk to junior shortstop Corinne Davis and a fielder's choice grounder and stolen base by sophomore center fielder Jaclyn Carifi.
That set up junior third baseman Jenna Palatini, who ripped a two-out, two-run double. Palatini went 2 for 2 with a walk on the afternoon. Sophomore second baseman Izzy Mansur also had an RBI for coach Alex Hill's Parsippany Hills team.