DENVILLE, NJ - Livingston head coach Jason Daily felt extremely comfortable with his 2011 Lady Lancer squad. He knew he would have key veteran leaders and a strong underclassmen core that would give Livingston a chance to win the conference, county and state titles.
Unfortunately, Daily and his Lady Lancers were defeated by the Golden Eagles of Morris Knolls 1-0 on Friday afternoon in Morris Knolls.
“This is extremely tough for us,” senior Alex Pizzoli said. “We knew the potential we had this year and today was anyone’s game.”
Pizzoli, Livingston’s first baseman as well as pitcher, was shut down earlier in the week with a season-ending injury. This was a huge blow to the Lancers lineup and presence on the mound.
However, Jessica Peslak has been an extremely reliable arm for Daily and once again she proved to be nothing but a competitor.
Peslak allowed only three hits and struck out five. Her counterpart, Caitlin O’Connor, matched her pitch for pitch as she also threw a three hitter while striking out four and walking six.
The game was an old-fashioned pitchers’ duel where one run would be enough for either team to seal the victory.
That one moment came for the Golden Eagles in the fifth inning. Tori Clarke launched an RBI double to the gap in right-center field on a 1-2 fastball from Peslak, which scored Elaine Hua.
Livingston had opportunities but could not execute throughout the game. The Lady Lancers left eight runners in scoring position and could not advance the runners as they popped up three attempted sacrifice bunts.
“Jess was outstanding today, as was our defense behind her,” Livingston head coach Jason Daily said. “Both pitchers threw a great game. We just did not execute offensively. Give Knolls credit because they capitalized on their opportunity.”
Morris Knolls advances to the North 1 Group 4 final and has not lost since Livingston defeated the No. 12 team in the state back on May 10.
“This has been a fun season and this program has much to look forward to with such a great number of underclassmen,” Pizzoli concluded.