MORRIS KNOLLS, NJ — Following a 13-3 victory against Morris Knolls that earned the Livingston High School Varsity Softball team the sectional title on Friday, the Lancers will advance to the NJSIAA Group 4 Semifinals against Watchung Hills on Tuesday, June 7, at Montclair State University.
The winner of Tuesday’s game will take on the winner of the match between East Brunswick and Egg Harbor, which will also take place on Tuesday at Rowan University.
According to Head Coach Jason Daily, the girls had tremendous practices over the few days between the Section Finals and Tuesday’s Group Semifinals and are looking forward to the challenge.
“I’m very proud of the way my players stepped up in the championship game,” said Daily. “They faced a lot of adversity this year, but they had such a loose, fun attitude going into the final game and that’s the reason why I think we played our best softball all year—because they were having fun and didn’t feel like there was any pressure. And that has to continue against Watchung Hills.”
Win or lose, Tuesday’s game will be the third Group 4 semifinal that the Lancers will have played since 2012. This is also the Lancers’ third sectional title in the last five seasons.
Daily said that despite 11 regular-season losses, and despite being the seventh seed in this particular tournament, the team has played with confidence against some tough teams and come out on top.
In the state tournament, seventh-seeded Livingston defeated the No. 10 seed, the No. 2 seed, the No. 3 seed and finally the No. 5 seed to lead the Lancers into the Group 4 Semifinals against Watchung Hills.
Once again, as with last week’s sectional semifinal round, senior Sydney McCormick pitched an impressive game against Morris Knolls on Friday, allowing in only six hits to Livingston’s 10.
Senior Kate Sheehan drove in four of the seven runs accumulated in the third inning to lead the Lancers from a scoreless game to a 7-0 lead. The Lancers picked up three more runs to take on a 10-0 advantage over Knolls in the fifth and added another three in the top of the seventh to secure the victory.
The last time the Lancers played in the Group 4 semifinal round was also against Watchung Hills in 2013, but the Lancers were defeated. Daily said Watchung Hills is a tremendous team, but that he is excited to face them on Tuesday.
The State Sectional Champion team is led by seniors Kate Sheehan, Sydney McCormack, Ally Royce, Allie Beinhacker, Blake Saperstein, Julia Viggiano and Nina Petrillo.
“We have excellent senior leadership and we’re ready to go,” said Daily. “I think at this point we’re playing with house money and we want to make sure we get the most out of every single game that’s left.”