Softball: Eight-Run Sixth Inning Sparks Johnson Crusaders Comeback Win Over Immaculata HS

Arthur L. Johnson High School junior Nicole Pecoraro says staying positive and keeping her composure on the mound were key towards keeping the game within reach. Credits: Daniel Collins
Credits: Sue Brogan
Arthur L. Johnson High School junior Bailey Rosenmeier provided the big blow in the bottom of the sixth inning with a bases-clearing double that cut the Immaculata lead down to 6-5. Credits: Daniel Collins
Arthur L. Johnson High School senior Sydney Tropeano tied the game at 6-6 with an RBI single. She says coming through in a clutch situation, crediting her teammates for coming together. Credits: Daniel Collins
Credits: Sue Brogan
Arthur L. Johnson High School senior Jen Tinger completed the comeback with a sacrifice fly to give her team a 7-6 lead. Credits: Daniel Collins
Credits: Sue Brogan
Credits: Sue Brogan
Arthur L. Johnson High School senior Nicole Cassano started the bottom of the sixth inning with a double and knocked in a run with a triple to make the game 8-6 Johnson. Credits: Daniel Collins
Credits: Sue Brogan
Arthur L. Johnson High School junior Victoria Zatko made it 9-6 with an RBI single that finished the scoring on the afternoon. Credits: Daniel Collins
Credits: Sue Brogan
The Johnson Crusaders (3-2) head out on the road to play at Benedictine Academy HS (Elizabeth) Saturday morning at 11:00 a.m. Credits: Daniel Collins

CLARK, NJ – The Arthur L. Johnson High School Crusaders varsity softball team struggled in the early stages of their game Friday afternoon against Immaculata High School (Somerville) Spartans. They trailed 6-1 after five and a half innings, with everything going wrong. They gave up three runs in the top of the fifth inning and it looked like they were heading for a tough loss.

All of that changed with a massive spark, as the Crusaders scored eight runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to take home a come-from-behind 9-6 win.

Johnson junior Nicole Pecoraro got the start. Despite allowing early runs, she limited damage when it looked like the game would get out of control. After the Spartans got an RBI single from freshman Kathryn Nee in the top of the second inning, they loaded the bases, but Pecoraro got the final out to keep it 2-0.

Sign Up for E-News

“Definitely keeping my composure on the mound [was important when we were trailing],” Pecoraro said. “[I knew] my defense was going to get it and pick each other up. Staying positive is key to winning a good game.”

Junior Hannah Brogan got Johnson on the board with an RBI triple, scoring junior Jenna Addie to make it a 2-1 Immaculata lead. The Spartans responded scoring three runs, all with two outs in the top of the fifth inning, the big blow coming off the bat of senior Fran Tarroca with a two-run double, as the game became 5-1. She stole home in the top of the sixth inning, the lead now 6-1.

“We didn’t have the focus from the get-go [earlier in the game],” Johnson head coach Chris Di Nucci said. “It’s from top to bottom. I wasn’t great today, I’ve got to be better and that trickles down from the head coach all the way down. You want to come out with a little more energy [early on].”

As Johnson came up to bat in the bottom of the sixth inning, everything began to change. Senior Nicole Cassano smoked the first pitch she saw for a leadoff double. Junior Victoria Zatko followed it with a single to put runners on the corners with no outs. Sophomore Megan Tinger walked to load the bases.

Brogan hustled out a tough groundball for an infield single, scoring Cassano to trim Immaculata’s lead to 6-2. It was junior Bailey Rosenmeier who came up, looking to keep the rally going, that provided the big blow with one swing.

She smoked a pitch deep to left-center field, clearing the bases to cut Immaculata’s lead down to 6-5 and suddenly, she represented the tying run in scoring position. Rosenmeier, who missed the entire 2017 season with a knee injury, knew the chance to set the tone was now-or-never as she connected for the game-changing hit.

“The game was on the line and I knew I had to hit the ball to help my team win,” Rosenmeier said.

Senior Sydney Tropeano stepped up to the plate next for Johnson. She smacked an 0-1 pitch to center field, scoring Rosenmeier to tie the game at 6-6. Making the turn towards second base on the throw, she went to third base on an error to keep the inning going.

“I just needed to get the ball in play and help my team out in any way possible,” Tropeano said of the mindset of stepping up to the plate at that moment. “The fact I was able to do that and gets us going means a lot to me because I knew we would be able to come together and it relies on the hit.”

Senior Jen Tinger gave her team a 7-6 lead with a sacrifice fly, scoring Tropeano to complete the comeback. Her teammates and the fans cheered from the stands with the Crusaders getting the lead after what could’ve ended with a bad loss.

The tying-together of hits kept on coming for the Crusaders. Cassano laced a pitch deep into the outfield, scoring sophomore Lia D’Angelo to make it 8-6.

“Our team is really outgoing,” Tinger said. “It shows no matter what happens, we can bounce back as a team and nobody goes down alone. Once someone gets a good hit, we just build off of that and good things happen.”

Zatko drove home Cassano with a single to make the score 9-6 Crusaders, the final score on the afternoon.

“Top to bottom, we got hits and people moving aggressive on the bases,” Di Nucci said. “It was a team effort in the bottom of the sixth inning. That goes out to our girls and it’s a credit to them for being composed and turn the game around.”

“We have a lot of experience on the team,” he said of his players. “That helps you in these types of games when you’re not playing so well. They came through for us today.”

The Johnson Crusaders (3-2) head out on the road to play Benedictine Academy HS (Elizabeth) Saturday morning at 11:00 a.m.

The Immaculata Spartans (0-4) will travel for a road game at Bridgewater-Raritan HS Monday afternoon at 4:00 p.m.


TAPinto Clark is Clark’s only free daily paper. Sign up to get all the news as it happens at daily enews  and  follow us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @TAPintoClark


TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Upcoming Events

Sat, April 21, 10:00 AM

Cranford Community Center, Cranford

"All About Owls" Nature Presentation with The ...

Arts & Entertainment

Sat, April 21, 10:00 AM

Cranford Community Center, Cranford

"All About Owls" Nature Presentation with The ...

Arts & Entertainment

Sun, April 22, 9:00 AM

Temple Beth-El Mekor Chayim, Cranford

Rummage Sale

Green Home & Garden

How to Report Potholes in Union County

April 21, 2018

With the winter weather finally winding down, potholes are a frequent issue for drivers. The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders would like you to know there are resources you can use to report them to the proper agency.

"We certainly encourage drivers and commuters to report any pothole they encounter on roads throughout Union County to the responsible authority," said ...

Cranford Man Dies after Wrong-Way Crash on Route 9

April 10, 2018

WOODBRIDGE, NJ – A Cranford man died after his car collided with another vehicle on Route 9 on Sunday.

Thomas McHugh, 88, was driving north in the southbound fast lane on Route 9, where he crashed head-on into another vehicle. On impact, one of the cars caught fire, according to Sgt. Jim Chessere of the Woodbridge Police Department.

 McHugh was taken from the scene to Robert ...

Thank You, St. Joseph's Volunteers

April 16, 2018

Thank You from St. Joseph Social Service Center

In recognition of National Volunteer Week, we would like to express our gratitude to the countless volunteers that serve the poor and homeless at St. Joseph Social Service Center in Elizabeth (  Whether you make a sandwich, collect toiletries, tutor in the job program, make soup, wrap Christmas gifts, donate food, ...


- Apr 11, 2018
Clark—Carleen Nevargic, 81, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, April 11, 2018 at her home ...
Read more