LIVINGSTON, NJ — Following a 4-3 victory over Delaware Valley at home on Tuesday, the 2017 Livingston High School softball team is working hard to qualify for the state tournament later this season despite the fierce upcoming competition.
The Lancers were down 3-1 by the end of the fourth inning on Tuesday, but came back with three unanswered runs in the seventh to take home the win. The team now stands at a 2-1 overall record in the Super Essex Conference (SEC) American division, which is one of the toughest conferences in the state, according to head coach Jason Daily.
“The teams that are in that conference, from top to bottom, are completely difficult,” said Daily. “No matter what team we play, at any point that team can put the hammer to you and beat you 10-0, or we can turn around and hopefully win a close game—and that’s exactly how the season started off.”
The Lacers defeated a tough Montclair team, 8-0, early in the season thanks to junior pitcher Jess Gorman, who threw a two-hitter and enabled Livingston to keep Montclair from scoring.
However, last week’s game against West Essex, which ended in a 10-1 final score, proved that the Knights are one of the top teams in the state this season based on their batting lineup.
Daily said the team has many difficult independent games coming up and that every game is going to have a championship atmosphere. Now three games into the season, Daily said he hopes the girls realize how hard their opponents are going to push them and that the Lancers have to push back.
“We have a lot of work to do this year,” said Daily. “I have a lot of players that have not played full-varsity schedules yet and that sort of showed its head when it came down to playing those high-level opponents.”
Daily also noted that the three seniors—Jaclyn Williamson, Kate Sheehan and Kaitlyn Kelly—have been fundamental in keeping the younger girls focused and ready for the upcoming season. He said that between the many indoor practices, late-night gym times and not being able to formally play an opponent on their own field, the seniors have shown tremendous leadership throughout.
“I’m proud of the way that they’ve responded to a tough spring schedule and the crazy practices,” said Daily. “Now it’s at the point where we have to rely on their softball experience and learning as we go. The type of system that we run at Livingston, offensively and defensively, is very intricate and chaotic and I want to be able to implement that very soon and make sure that my athletes are operating at a high IQ.”
The Lancers take on Newark Academy next in an away game on Thursday at 4 p.m.