BRIDGEWATER, NJ — In a daylong event spearheaded by its own coach, the Bernards softball team was finally back on the field for competitive play Monday.
The Mountaineers came away with one victory in three games in the Somerset County Summer Softball Tournament organized by Bernards High School coach Leslie O’Connor after the entire spring sports season was canceled because of the COVID-19 shutdown.
On Monday, Bernards defeated Somerville, 8-2, in five innings before losing to Watchung Hills and Montgomery.
The Mountaineers scored eight runs in the first inning, when Gina Mahlik and Shannon Harzula contributed two-run doubles. Maddie Rivetti doubled in a run and Bri Harzula and Sierra Emery each had RBI singles. Caitlyn Sebastian allowed two runs on six hits and walked only one batter in five innings to gain the victory for Bernards.
Harzula and Risa Rivetti scored runs in Bernards’ loss to Watchung Hills, and Julie Karpinski drove in Gina Mahlik in the Mountaineers’ loss to Montgomery.
The five Bernards graduates who took the field after missing out on their senior season last spring were Callie Hunnewell, Riley DeMarrais, Shannon Harzula, Bri Harzula and Jesse Prusina.
“All the coaches have been just very supportive and positive,” O’Connor said of arranging the tournament. “Finding fields was the first step. Making sure that every kid (got) playing time, and that this is an extremely positive experience for our athletes, is what's most important."