Sports

Johnson Crusaders Varsity Softball Stun Immaculate Heart Academy Behind Randazza’s RBI Double, Complete Game

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Head coach Chris Di Nucci strategizes with Jenna Addie, Victoria Zatko and Lauren Donah during Sunday's road game at Immaculate Heart Academy HS. Credits: Sue Brogan
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Arthur L. Johnson High School seniors Gianna Randazza and Shannon Brogan following the team's stunning 2-1 victory over Immaculate Heart Academy HS (ranked No. 1 in NJ) on Sunday, April 9, 2017. Credits: Sue Brogan
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The Arthur L. Johnson High School Crusaders varsity softball team poses for a team picture following their win on Sunday, April 9, 2017 over Immaculate Heart Academy HS. Credits: Sue Brogan
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Arthur L. Johnson High School sophomore Jenna Addie digs in at the plate, waiting for the pitch to be delivered to her. Credits: Sue Brogan
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Arthur L. Johnson High School junior Jennifer Tinger during a plate appearance during the road game at Immaculate Heart Academy. Johnson stunned the No. 1 ranked Blue Eagles (ranked 12th in nation). Credits: Sue Brogan
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Arthur L. Johnson High School freshman Megan Tinger setting up at first base following a single. Credits: Sue Brogan
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WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP, NJ – Arthur L. Johnson High School senior Gianna Randazza’s RBI double with two outs in the top of the seventh inning helped the Crusaders stun the Immaculate Heart Academy High School Blue Eagles (ranked No. 1 in the state of New Jersey, ranked No. 12 in the nation) by a final score of 2-1 Sunday morning in Washington Township in the Anthony Larezza Invitational.

Her double was an initial fly-ball that was misjudged in the outfield, as it dunked in for the game-winning hit.

On the mound, she pitched a complete game, allowing one run on two hits, walking two batters and recording three strikeouts. She spoke of how monumental the victory was for her team in the early stages of the season.

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“It just shows that with hard work any team is beatable on any given day,” Randazza said. “This will be our mindset through the rest of the season. Play hard every game because you never know who's going to give you a good game.”

Immaculate Heart struck first in the bottom of the second inning, when sophomore Mia Recenello knocked in an RBI on a single, scoring senior Caroline Ventor to give her team the 1-0 lead.

The teams battled back-and-forth, as Randazza kept the game a 1-0 deficit for the Crusaders.

The Crusaders tied the game in the top of the fifth inning. Junior Jennifer Tinger hit the ball to the pitcher, only for it to get thrown over first base, allowing senior Shannon Brogan to score, making the score 1-1.

Brogan went 2-for-3 on the afternoon at the plate.

As the game shifted to the top of the seventh inning, with a runner on and two outs, Randazza would drive home the game-winning RBI on the double, giving the Crusaders their second win in two days.

“Beating a team like Immaculate Heart Academy is a great win for us,” Johnson head coach Chris Di Nucci said. “It was a team win led by our seniors. We had girls who stepped up and played well. We did a great job of keeping our composure throughout the game and we were able to win it in the seventh inning.” 

For Johnson, sophomore Victoria Zatko went 2-for-3 on the morning game.

“It’s definitely a great feeling and every girl on our team stepped up today to get us that win,” Brogan said. “Immaculate Heart Academy is also an amazing team, so to know that we can compete with a team like that is awesome and shows us what our potential could be for the rest of the year.”

The Johnson Crusaders (2-0) will travel on the road to play at Cranford HS Tuesday afternoon at 4:00 p.m.

The Immaculate Heart Academy Blue Eagles (2-2) take on Clifton HS Tuesday afternoon at 4:00 p.m.

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