BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - In a rematch of the 2012 Union County Tournament Final, the Governor Livingston varsity softball team was triumphant again, with a 3-1 win over New Providence on Thursday at Governor Livingston High School.
Highlander junior Colleen Frank scored two runs, going 3-for-4 out of the leadoff spot to guide GL to an opening day win.
"I'm excited that we won because we played them in the county final last year," Highlander pitcher Jordan Robbins said. "It was an important game to win."
Governor Livingston got off to a fast start in the first inning. Frank was walked to start the bottom of the frame. After a stolen base and fielder's choice ground ball, the sophomore scored on a groundout off the bat of Carolynne Goldbeck to give the Highlanders a 1-0 lead.
"That's the key to softball, if you can score runs without getting a hit," Governor Livingston head coach Rich Iacono said. "We're going to have to do that with Colleen [Frank]'s speed and she gave us that. That's why I led off with her, she runs very well. She played well today. Colleen gave us some real good offensive punch."
In the second, Frank drove in a run with an infield single. After stealing second, she came around to score when New Providence couldn't cleanly field a ground ball to give the Highlanders a 2-0 lead.
Pioneer pitcher Cassandra Squeri was charged with only one earned run in the game, however it was enough to earn her second loss of the season as their offense took four innings to get going.
In the top of the fourth, New Providence's Alexander Esposito led off with a triple and later scored on a groundout to first.
Then in the fifth, Jenna Madden hit a triple to left center. After the next Pioneer was retired, Squeri hit a fly ball to centerfield. GL's Peyton Murphy made the catch in shallow centerfield. Her throw home bounced by the catcher Kacie Worswick. As Madden rushed home, Worswick threw to Frank who tagged out the Pioneer runner to end the inning.
"We made a mistake on the play," Iacono said. "We didn't back up. The pitcher should have been behind her, but if she is behind her they don't run. It's kind of a Catch 22."
That proved to be the last threat New Providence would make on Frank and the Highlanders. GL retired six of the last seven batters of the game to open their season with a win.
Despite the victory, Iacono thinks there is still a long way to go for his young program. With only one senior, the girls are still learning how to play at an elite level.
"I thought we'd be tight and we were," Iacono said. "We were nervous. I'm starting a number of girls who have never played, that's their first varsity game, started three sophomores. Our experience is not there yet, but these girls have not played yet."