LINDEN, NJ - In the Union County Conference Tournament Semifinals, the No. 1 seeded Governor Livingston Highlanders Softball team made a major statement in defeating No. 5 seeded Cranford Cougars, 7-1. With the win, Governor Livingston improves to 16-2 and moves on to face Arthur L. Johnson in the Final on Saturday.
After watching his team struggle to generate hits the past few games, Sunday’s performance at the plate gave Governor Livingston head coach Mike Roof much-needed relief.
“I give the girls a ton of credit because they were very tuned-in today,” Roof said. “We’ve been so effective with our pitching lately and our defense has been just as good. But our bats haven’t come alive the last four or five games.”
Senior Alanna Namit (9-2) pitched a complete came allowing one run on four hits while striking out 11 and walking two..Brenna Dolan was on the mound for Cranford allowing seven runs on 8 hits, striking out six.
The Highlanders didn’t take long to make their presence known on Sunday. After making quick work of the Cranford batters at the top of the first inning, the Highlanders scored two quick runs at the bottom of the inning thanks to an RBI double by Madison Phillips and a perfectly executed bunt by Nicole Trezza to score another run.
After once again making quick work of the Cranford batters in the second inning, the Highlanders once again made the Cougars pay. After a bunt and steal of second base by Jaime Belfer, Phillips hit a strike to center field to get herself on base while sending Belfer to third in the process. After Namit walked shortly after, the bases were suddenly loaded and Katie Debbie (3-for-4) took advantage.
Debbie’s hit brought Belfer home for the game’s third run. Trezza followed up Debbie’s hit with a line drive towards first base. Fortunately for the Highlanders, Cranford’s first baseman dropped the ball for the game’s first error which brought in another runner. The inning would end with a 5-0 Governor Livingston lead.
“We did a good job taking advantage of their mistakes in the field,” Roof said. “We were able to use our speed to steal a base, get a bunt, steal another base, and so on.”
After the teams went scoreless in the third inning, the Cougars finally got on the board in the fourth inning for their only run of the game.
The Highlanders wouldn’t score again until the fifth inning. Their sixth run was caused by another series of bunts and steals.
After shutting out the Cougars in the top of the sixth, the Highlanders put the finishing touches on the game in the bottom of the sixth inning when another error by the Cougars brought home Belfer for the team’s seventh and final run.