MONTVILLE, NJ - Summer paid a visit on Wednesday, May 17, as the Montville Softball team commenced a celebration of their senior players preceding the start of their final home game and fight for a conference title against Chatham.

The ceremony was led by Montville Head Coach, John Immediato. He began by inviting family members of seniors, Kristie Monaco, Dawn Holmes, and Allison Furman to join him on the field, as the team stood along the first base line.

“This year we were represented by three excellent seniors who have been four year players for Montville Township High school," Immediato said. "They are three fine young ladies who are moving on to great schools. We are very sorry to see them go, and they will be very hard to replace.”

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Each senior was called upon individually, greeted with flowers and family members to follow in Montville Softball’s traditional “Senior Day” style.  

The senior tribute was highlighted when Kristie Monaco received the honor of accepting the 2017 Michelle Fund Award from Theresa and Leo Sullivan. This award is normally granted on the initial day of Montville's Michelle Fund Softball Tournament, but due to inclement weather on May 5 the presentation of this eleventh annual Michelle Fund Award was made on the Mustangs' senior day. Assistant Coach and former recipient, Stephanie Malgeri awarded the recognition to Monaco.

Fundamentals are crucial in determining the make or break outcome of a game, and it seemed bringing it back to the basics is what Montville needed to do in order to prevent runs from scoring. Coach Immediato validated by stating, “Against a good team like Chatham, they are going to capitalize on our mistakes, which they did.”

Chatham got a running start putting the bat to the ball, adding two runs to the board in the first inning. Gianna Palmisano retaliated with a single to start the day for Montville, followed by a steal, advancing her to second. Kelly Dodgson hit a fielder’s choice, getting Palmisano to third. However, with a runner in scoring position, Montville left the inning scoreless. 

Jackie Monaco’s incredible backhanded play and cannon throw at shortstop to get an out wasn’t enough to get Montville’s motor running as they entered the bottom of the second inning. Chatham decided to make some more noise in the third when lead off, Bonnie Kennedy bunted safe and captured third base through a sac bunt by shortstop, Camryn Davis. Kristie Monaco fired back with a strikeout. Later, Jackie made the third out at second base to end another two run inning.

There were no if, ands, or buts, when Dodgson stepped up to the plate in the fourth to nail a single line drive to right center. Second baseman, Izzy Bressman’s breakthrough double to knock Dodgson in, put the Mustangs on the board.

Despite a hard fought 7 inning pitching performance by Kristie Monaco, and a successful day at the plate for Bressman, Dodgson, and Palmisano, each going 2-3, the Mustangs could not get the win for their seniors, leaving the game with a score of 6-1. 

At the end of the day, senior pitcher Kristie Monaco was reassured saying, “We had a lot of fun wins through the season, and I’ve created some great friendships.”

The bond of this team was molded as young players, as the upperclassman have been playing beside each other for years prior to their high school careers. However, the returning collaboration of rising upperclassman and young strength in the underclassman promotes a vengeance to embark on another prosperous season next year.