On the hottest summer night at the Ponytail softball complex the Parkway High School D2 softball championship game between the SP Tigers (2) and the Kenilworth Bulldogs(4) was promising to be an epic battle and it did not disappoint. The Tigers with an 8-1 record, their only loss was to the Bulldogs, came in looking for revenge.
Riding a 10 game winning streak which featured winning the NO FEAR tournament in Readington, the Tigers had ideas of winning another championship. But the Bulldogs had slugged their way to the championship game -- but upseting the #3 and #1 seeds -- had another idea.
There was a big crowd for the game being played under the lights but before the fans could settle in, the power hitting Bulldogs scored 4 runs in the top of the 1st and were flying high. The Tigers took a big punch but did not waver they needed to counter punch and that they did. Katelyn “Kate” Luster pounded a double, a gap triple by Deleaney”D-Bone” Born and a sharp single by Olivia “O” Olano gave the Tigers 2 runs back and the battle was on!
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Tiger pitcher Emily “Em” Goncalves was overpowering Kenilworth’s lineup and was backed up by defensive gems by CF Hailey “Hail” Palmer taking away hits and birthday girl, SS Lauren “Hutch” Hutchison two double plays.
The Tigers still down by 2 runs going to the bottom of 4th, needed a spark, Kirsten “Kiki” Culver beat out an infield hit then stole second and that was it! Kylie “Ky” Nieradka lashed a single to make it 4-3. With two outs Lexi”Bexi” Bedford turned on a rising fastball and pounded it for a double to tie the game. On the very next pitch, Jocelyn “J-Money” Mortenson bombed a triple knocking in the go ahead run! The bench erupted and the fans were cheering!
But it was not over yet, as the Bulldogs bounced back to tie the game at 5-5 and looking for more. Kenilworth loaded the bases in the 7th inning but the Tiger defense held. Going to extra innings Kenilworth loaded them up again, the Tigers determined not to let anymore runs score escaped leaving the bases loaded again!
In the bottom of the eighth inning with Hutch on second then stealing third, Kenilworth pulled the infield and outfield in but Ky placed a high chopper up the middle for the walk-off game winner! The beauty and the agony of the game. A truly well played game by both teams! Not pictured, Rachel”Bambi” Fallet (injured) and Natalie”Nat” Leonardis. Great Season Ladies!
Thanks to all coaches and parents for their time and dedication.
Learn more about the South Plainfield Parents' Ponytail Association here.