LIVINGSTON, NJ - All season long the Livingston Lady Lancers have received solid starting pitching. However, at the plate, Livingston has been inconsistent.
Saturday evening they received another phenomenal pitching performance from sophomore Jess Peslack as well as timely hitting that earned the Lady Lancers a 4-3 walk-off win in Livingston over the Caldwell Lady Chiefs.
The “timely hitting” came from one of the most inexperienced players in Livingston’s lineup: freshman Samantha Rothenberger. Rothenberger hit the two-run game-winning double.
“Today, both teams came to play and either team could have walked away with a win,” Livingston veteran head coach Jason Daily said. “We like to play a tough regular season schedule for the later season county and state games. It makes us an all around better team.”
Livingston sophomore Jess Peslak overpowered the Lady Chiefs as she finished with 13 strikeouts and only one walk while allowing two hits and two runs. Her counter part, Brittany Trivino, struck out three and walked one. She did allow seven hits and four runs.
Caldwell struck first in the third inning when Alex Sciacca reached on a walk. Then Gabby Roselle laced a triple into left field, which plated Sciacca. The Chiefs looked to build on the one out triple that scored a run but Peslack struck out the next two batters and negated a potential Caldwell rally.
As both pitchers shut down the opponent’s side in the fourth inning, Caldwell attempted another rally.
The Lady Chiefs had bases loaded with no outs. Peslack then bared down and struck out the next to hitters. Chelsea Columbo then came to the plate and hit a single, which scored Rachel Curtiss to increase Caldwell’s lead to 2-0. However, Peslack struck out the next batter to strike out the side.
“That was a huge momentum boost for our team,” Daily said. “To only allow one run with the bases loaded and no outs. Jess was incredible today as she has been all year.”
Livingston was able to cut Caldwell’s lead in half when they finally scored in the bottom of the sixth. Alex Pizzoli walked with two outs. Then Sam Rothenberger tripled and scored Pizzoli.
Caldwell led 2-1 heading to the final inning of play and was not done.
Gina Veneziano led the inning off with a single and then stole second base. Peslack still remained composed and got the next two outs. But the pesky Caldwell team that never gives up had Gabby Roselle single and scored Veneziano giving Roselle her second RBI of the game. Caldwell increased their lead to 3-1.
“We have been down in late game situations before and this was no different,” senior Alex Pizzoli said. “We just had to be patient at the plate and work every at bat.”
With a little help, Livingston got the late inning rally they were looking for.
Reid Singer led the inning off reaching on an error. Jessica Icolari was then hit by a pitch to give the Lady Lancers two runners on with no outs. Coach Jason Daily made a key decision to allow freshman Kylie McLaughlin to pinch hit. McLaughlin roped a single to score Singer. Then right fielder Jazmine Pignatello laid down a beautiful sacrifice bunt that advanced both runners to second and third. Sam Rothenberger then came to the plate. Up to this point, Rothenberger was 2-for-3 and had one of Livingston’s RBIs. After two strong cuts, Rothenberger crushed a double to right field, which scored both runners and won the game for Livingston.
“I just didn’t want to be fooled,” Rothenberger said. “[Trivino] had great off speed stuff all day so I thought she might try to slip a fast ball by me, but I just took it the other way.”
“This has been a great week for us as we have beat two top 20 teams and advanced in the county tournament.” Pizzoli concluded.
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