Press Releases

Softball: Justina Benvenuto Named Union Catholic's Girls Conference Athlete of Week

Sophomore Justina Benvenuto has been named Union Catholic's Girls Union County Conference Athlete of Week. Credits: Jim Lambert

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- After bursting on the scene with a fabulous freshman softball season at Union Catholic last year, there was a lot of hype surrounding Justina Benvenuto as she entered her sophomore season.

Benvenuto has more than lived up to all the lofty expectations, both on the mound and at the plate as she has sparked the Vikings to a 6-1 record this spring.

Benvenuto has been dominate on the mound this season with a 7-1 record, 55 strikeouts in 44 innings, two shutouts, one combined shutout, and one no-hitter. And she has delivered several clutch hits at the plate for Union Catholic.

Sign Up for E-News

In UC's season opening 17-1 victory, Benvenuto pitched a no-hitter and slugged a three-run homer in the four-inning game.  

Benvenuto's best pitching performance of the season came when she fired a complete-game 4-0 shutout over defending Group 3 state champion South Plainfield, ranked No. 16 in the state at the time, at UC's Viking Tournament on April 7. The victory over South Plainfield came after UC suffered its only loss of the season to Elizabeth earlier in the day.    

"The South Plainfield game  was the biggest game of the season so far for us,'' said Benvenuto, who also hurled a shutout vs. Union County Conference rival Summit. "I always try to bring it up to another level when I knew it's a really important game.''

As a freshman, Benvenuto was 11-6 on the mound with 124 strikeouts in 98.3 innings, and at the plate she had a .407 average, scored 15 runs, drove in 15 runs, and hit one home run.

Benvenuto, who lives in Berkeley Heights, has worked very hard since last year to take her game to another level.  

"I knew coming back that our team would be even stronger and we were bonding and meshing well as a team, so I felt I needed to show that my potential has grown even more this year,''  said Benvenuto, who already has three home runs, 13 runs batted in and 12 runs scored this season. "Over the winter, I have a net setup in my garage to practice my pitching, and I did a lot drills. And I've really worked on gaining more intensity in practice and I worked hard on gaining more speed on my pitches and being more relaxed at the plate.''

Softball has always been Benvenuto's No. 1 sport.

"My grandfather (Bob Catherwood) got me into softball at a young age and my family is big into baseball and softball,'' said Benvenuto, who works on her game six days a week year-round and plays club softball for the Morris County Belles. "I played a little basketball when I was younger, but softball has always been my sport.''

What are Benvenuto's goals for the rest of the season?

"To just keep working hard and try to help my team win the Conference title and have the best season possible,'' said Benvenuto.  

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Scotch Plains/Fanwood

Sex Toys, Gay Jokes, Nepotism, Frat-Boy Pranks; Mountainside P.D. Out of Control Says Lawsuit

May 19, 2018

MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ – In a 46-page complaint packed with allegations of harassment involving sex toys, official misconduct, nepotism, hazing, double-dipping and other egregious behavior, five Mountainside police officers and a female employee are suing the borough in state Superior Court.

The complaint, filed by officers Jeffrey Stinner, Christopher Feighner, Richard Latargia, Thomas ...

Penguin Exhibit Opens at Turtle Back Zoo

May 8, 2018

WEST ORANGE, NJ — African penguins have officially joined the giraffes, lions and hyenas in the African Adventure at the Turtle Back Zoo, bringing all of the zoo’s animals from the largest continent into the same area.

Local dignitaries joined Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo, Jr. in opening the new Shores of Africa Penguin Exhibit on Friday afternoon.

"Our penguins ...

Capitalist or Communist?

Karl Marx may have been the pioneer, but many other Jews were also involved in the struggle for communism, particularly in the early days of the Russian revolution. Personally, I don’t think that we have any apologies to make for this phenomenon. Having suffered unbearably under successive oppressive regimes, many of those political activists genuinely thought communism would be better ...

The Facts About Vaping

May 13, 2018

Dear Editor:

The recent public discussion about vaping and “Juuling” that occurred at our high school really opened the eyes of a lot of parents who may have been clueless about what their kids are doing to themselves. There is a lot of conflicting and confusing information available online, on YouTube and social media about the so-called benefits of vaping vs. smoking ...

Ask Maria: When Should We Step in to Rescue Our Children?

May 8, 2018

Dear Maria: 

My husband and I have been very child-focused most of our lives. We have always put our children first. Many times we have stepped in and rescued and we think it's starting to cause issues. Do you think this parenting style is damaging and what are the consequences of our behavior as they mature? How do we stop it?

Thanks so much!


As parents, we all have ...

Terrill Middle School Students to Raise $ to Support Lifeline Animal Rescue This Weekend

May 18, 2018

WATCHUNG, NJ -- This weekend is National Pet Adoption Weekend at PetSmart. Lifeline Animal Rescue out of Warren, NJ will be having a bake sale fundraiser at PetSmart in Watchung this Saturday and Sunday, May 19-20, from 11:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. each day. 

A group of local students from Terrill Middle School in Scotch Plains have been volunteering with Lifeline, a feline ...

Upcoming Events


Sun, May 20, 1:00 PM

TD Bank Ballpark, Bridgewater

Fanwood Community - Autism NJ Day at Somerset ...

Sun, May 20, 2:00 PM

Miller-Cory House Museum, Westfield

History of Silhouettes & Craft for Children