Sports

South Plainfield Lady Tigers Stun Middletown North 3-2, Grab N2G3 State Sectional Title

e8338e8cb57ae1f5af7c_SPvsMid1.jpg
Credits: Stasey Lambrakopoulos Pace
41cdb7f39ba2084dfdd7_SPvsMid2.jpg
Credits: Stasey Lambrakopoulos Pace
0f10d8b84e0a368aef97_SPvsMid3.jpg
Credits: Stasey Lambrakopoulos Pace
1e9e09167d0b46819617_SPvsmid4.jpg
Credits: Stasey Lambrakopoulos Pace
0cdda21f531ab692f9d5_SPvsMid5.jpg
Credits: Stasey Lambrakopoulos Pace
4f2e7e4bcc4fb65285a0_SPvsMid6.jpg
Credits: Stasey Lambrakopoulos Pace
6aaeede127d61a9bb319_SPvsMid7.jpg
Credits: Stasey Lambrakopoulos Pace
e8338e8cb57ae1f5af7c_SPvsMid1.jpg

MIDDLETOWN -- After their heartbreaking extra innings loss in the Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament final this past weekend, the South Plainfield High School varsity softball team had to quickly shift their attention to their sectional championship game against Middletown North.

You could see it on the players’ and coaches’ faces after the defeat that it wasn’t going to be easy moving past that game.

But they did, as the third-seeded Tigers upset top-seeded Middletown North, 3-2, in the 2017 NJSIAA/Wilson Sporting Goods North Jersey, Section 2, Group 3 Tournament Wednesday afternoon.

Sign Up for E-News

The win gave the Tigers their first sectional title since 2009 -- and eighth in school history -- and prevented losses in both the GMCT and sectional final in back-to-back years. South Plainfield fell to Middletown South in the 2016 N2G3 tournament final and to South Brunswick in the GMCT final the last two seasons.

Does the win take the bad taste of their mouths?

“It does,” South Plainfield head coach Don Panzarella said. “I can’t say enough. We’ve been talking all year. We’ve had four losses in extra innings. We just kept telling (starting pitcher Katherine Vill) today you just have to suck it up. It’s your senior year. You’ve got to win this one. We weren’t going to let it happen like it did the other day (or in last year’s final). My hats off to them. They were relaxed.

“We jumped out and I think that’s the key for us. (Middletown North) is a great team and I think my team played great today. We got a timely hit. It’s awesome. I don’t even know what to say. It’s impressive.”

South Plainfield used their winning formula of stellar pitching from Vill, solid defense, and timely hitting against the Lions.

Vill tossed a six-hitter giving up two runs and a walk while striking out three, including the last batter of the ballgame, and the Tigers mustered across a run in the top of the first inning to take an early lead.

Shortstop Caity Hughes, who went 2-for-3 in the contest, slapped a single to right field to lead-off the game. Hughes then stole second base and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by right fielder Jennifer Grasso. And like they’ve done all year, Holoboski then drove Hughes home with a sac fly.

However, Middletown North tied the game at 1-1 with a run in the bottom of the second on an RBI single by Alyssa Vetrano which scored Adriana Cerbo. They could have had more as Lions pitcher Riley Kernan started the inning with a walk and courtesy runner Dri Noterile went all the way from first to home on Cerbo’s double to deep right, but Grasso picked up the ball at the fence, threw to relay man and second baseman Makayla Sosa, who then fired home to catcher Camryn Schaeffer who tagged out Noterile.

After shaking off her foot injury a few weeks back, Schaeffer also delivered with a two-RBI sky-high double to deep left field to put South Plainfield up 3-1. That hit proved to be the difference.

The Lions wouldn’t go down easy however and provided drama in the sixth and seventh. Milena Wilton and Liz Dorsa began the bottom of the sixth with two hard singles which prompted a circle visit Vill by Tigers’ assistant Nick Panzarella. That worked as South Plainfield got the first out on a fielder’s choice and an inning-ending double play by Sosa as she tagged out Kayla Gallo going from first to second before throwing the ball to first baseman Cameron Marks.

In the seventh, shades of the GMCT final on Saturday against the Vikings began to almost replay as the South Plainfield led 3-1 as well going into the final frame. The Vikings scored two to tie it and send the contest into extras, but this time, Middletown North only mustered one as Vill got Ryan Rassmussen to strikeout to end the game and send everyone in green into a happy frenzy.

“It brought us down obviously,” Vill said of the loss to South Brunswick. “We were looking so forward that but we knew it wasn’t our last option and we had to go win states. Really the following practice on Monday we were like, OK guys we know it sucks we lost but we have to bounce back because we’re not done yet.

“I was very determined. I felt good about my (performance in the circle). Everyone was here and we came to play.”

Next up for South Plainfield is a date with North Jersey, Section 1, Group 3 winner Old Tappan. The two squads will meet Thursday at 4:00 p.m. at Montclair State University.

“I wanna keep going and now we have to play tomorrow,” Panzarella said. “It’s tough again back-to-back when the other team had an extra day of rest because we got rained out. It’s going to be tough, but we gotta do it, you know.”

Asked what this win means to her, Vill exclaimed, “It means we’re not done yet!”

*Of note, Panzarella is the state’s active wins leader with 730. He is 14 wins away of breaking retired Middletown North coach Tom Erbig’s record of 743 victories.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

South Plainfield

The Athlete of the Week Alejandro Garcia Boys’ Spring Track

The South Plainfield Boys’ Spring Track has continued to be one of the most successful programs for the Spring Athletic Season.  The Boys’ have been dominate in the Greater Middlesex Conference Blue Division for the last few years.  After being decimated by graduation, the Tigers were not sure what the season would hold.  South Plainfield once again won the Blue ...

The Athlete of the Week Christopher Shine Baseball

The South Plainfield High School baseball team is continuing to have a successful 2018 season with a record of 15-9. This past week, the Tigers went 4-0 beating out of conference foes North Hunterdon, Montgomery, and Bernards.  They finished the week with a win in the first round of the Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament, over Carteret.   A major contributor to South ...

Holy Savior Cheerleading Squad Takes Season by 'Storm'

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Holy Savior Academy’s (HSA) ‘Biddy’ Cheerleading Squad, the Storm,  recently completed their 2017-2018 season with a first place win in their division at Cheerfest. Held May 12 at Six Flags Great Adventure, the annual multi-state competition featured teams from throughout New Jersey. 

“This cheer season has been such an ...

Obituaries

South Plainfield – Dorothy Rotola, 91, passed away Thursday, May 24, 2018 in Ashbrook Nursing ...
Read more

Letters to the Editor

Tree Olano Says "Thank You"

May 23, 2018

The infamous “Senior Gardens” is a huge part of the senior center .  The vegetables are all planted and ready for a fruitful harvest!

I wanted to extend a “thank you” the following people who made this happen:

The  Department of Public Works – Kristina Nieradka for taking my many calls with kindness and professionalism; Donna Zereconski, ...

Middlesex County College Graduates 1480 Students May 17

May 22, 2018

EDISON, NJ - A total of 1514 degrees and certificates were awarded to 1480 students by Middlesex County College Thursday, May 17 at the 51st annual Commencement exercises witnessed by approximately 3500 guests at the Rutgers Athletic Center.

Valedictorian Sindhu Murthy (Highland Park) delivered the class welcome, sharing her experiences and aspirations. Ms. Murthy, who graduated in January and ...

Community Happenings

JOHN E. RILEY’S 1ST ANNUAL FOOD TRUCK FESTIVAL

May 12, 2018

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - On Saturday, June 2, 2018 from 11AM to 5PM, the John E. Riley PTSO (JER PTSO) will be hosting its first ever Food Truck Festival!

 

Come out for a good time while supporting a good cause! Proceeds from this event will go to replacing the 2 broken playground structures at John E. Riley Elementary School costing approximately $80,000. 11+ food trucks including ...

Holy Savior Academy to Hold 7th Annual 5K Run & Family Walk in June

May 26, 2018

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Calling all runners and walkers! Holy Savior Academy will hold its 7th Annual 5K Run and 1 Mile Family Walk on Saturday, June 2. Proceeds from this year’s family-friendly event will benefit the school’s academic, athletic, and extracurricular programs.

“Holy Savior Academy’s annual 5K offers the school an opportunity to provide other ...

Holy Savior Cheerleading Squad Takes Season by 'Storm'

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Holy Savior Academy’s (HSA) ‘Biddy’ Cheerleading Squad, the Storm,  recently completed their 2017-2018 season with a first place win in their division at Cheerfest. Held May 12 at Six Flags Great Adventure, the annual multi-state competition featured teams from throughout New Jersey. 

“This cheer season has been such an ...

Memorial Day Services ­Announced

May 22, 2018

The South Plainfield Memorial Day Services, hosted by the American Legion Post #243  and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Memorial Post #6763  will be held on Monday, May 28.  It will commence at the American Legion Post 243 at 9:00 a.m.  The procession will start with the tradition of wreath laying  at 10 a.m. in Monument Park.( Attendees may park in Veterans Memorial ...

Road Projects - Closures

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ -  Road resurfacing continues on Joan Street between South Plainfield Avenue and Maple Avenue plus Michael Street.  Roadways are closed to local traffic only.  This information was sent via Nixle Alert.

Staying Fit at the Senior Center

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - Staying fit and getting plenty of good exercise is a high priority at the South Plainfield Senior Center, located at 90 Maple Avenue in South Plainfield. Classes on health issues and a wide range of physical exercise are available almost daily.

The Walking Group meets every Friday, weather permitting, starting on May 18 and going through October. Participants meet at the ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_7a110ba1b1a66408e129_mini_magick20180522-67475-1v887d3

Mon, May 28, 9:00 AM

South Plainfield

Memorial Day Services ­Announced

Wed, May 30, 6:00 PM

South Plainfield Public Library, South Plainfield

Town-Wide Girl Scout Registration

Sat, June 2, 9:00 AM

South Plainfield

Holy Savior Academy 5K and Family Fun Walk

Health & Wellness

Columns

Diegnan & Ruiz Bill to Establish Grant Program to Develop Dual Language Immersion Programs Advances

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Patrick J. Diegnan Jr. and Senate Education Chair M. Teresa Ruiz to establish a grant program for school districts and charter schools to develop dual language immersion programs was released from the Senate Education Committee today.

 

“The best way for a student to excel in a foreign language is an immersion program,” said ...

The Queen of the Big Time by Adriana Trigiani (Ballentine Books, 2005)

            The Queen of the Big Time by Adriana Trigiani, a New York Times best selling author, was recommended to me by a young woman who actually came from the town of Roseto, Pennsylvania, the place where the novel is set. “The author did such a wonderful job of describing how the town actually is,” said the young lady.

Bookmarks

The South Plainfield Public Library will be closed this Sunday, May 27 and Monday, May 28 due to Memorial Day.  Because of the holiday, there will be no movie showing this week on Monday evening or Wednesday afternoon.  Monday Night Movies will resume the week of June 4, with a newly released selection.

This Saturday, May 26, the library is hosting a Mario Kart Tournament: Blindfold ...

TAPinto Featured Franchisee: Steve Lenox of TAPinto Paterson

This week's feature will focus on TAPinto Paterson's franchisee, Steve Lenox. Find out how the current owner of a public affairs firm went from a former State Director for Senator Frank Lautenberg to a proud TAPinto franchisee for New Jersey's third largest city.

 

Q. When did you join TAPinto.net?

I joined TAPinto.net in September, ...

Suburban Woman’s Club Welcomes You

The Suburban Woman’s Club of South Plainfield is welcoming new members. Enjoy creative fund raisers, interesting activities while participating on standing committees, informative monthly programs, and the camaraderie of women whose efforts enhance the community. The club meets at 1:00 PM on the first Thursday of each month, September through June, at the American ...

Press Releases

South Plainfield’s Gillen Named Third Team All-American

May 26, 2018

GLENSIDE, Pa – Junior Bryan Gillen was named Third Team All-America by D3baseball.com, becoming the first All-America recipient in program history, the organization announced Wednesday. To be eligible, a player must have made the D3baseball.com All-Region Team, which Gillen earned First Team honors.
 
Gillen, who was named MAC Commonwealth Player of the Year and earned ...