SUMMIT, NJ - A skirmish with next door rival Chatham is on tap after the Summit High School Softball Team used yet another stellar pitching performance from Sami Auerbach, solid defense behind her, and plenty of run-production to defeat Colonia 9-1 in their NJSIAA State Tournament opener at Memorial Park.

A period in which the Hilltopper bats resided on the cooler side ended when Summit scored 12 runs against Rahway in their final regular season game May 15. Against the Patriots, Summit kept their offense as sizzling hot as the blazing temps the game was played in, and the fifth-seeded Maroon and White, now 17-5 on the season, won their sixth game in a row.

The first inning went scoreless, with Auerbach able to fan one and make quick work of the Colonia offense while the Hilltoppers stranded runners on first and second.

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The second inning saw Auerbach continue her stinginess and the Hilltoppers would get to work, posting three runs behind RBI from Auerbach, Kendall Blomfield and Alisha McDonnell.

Colonia got on the board with a lone run in the top of the third, Summit was blanked in the bottom half of the frame, and neither squad was able to generate any runs in the fourth.

The fifth and sixth innings, however, were a different story for the home team.

Two RBI from Jessica Natunen as well runs knocked in by Danielle Medina and Taylor Thompson -- along with two runs coming from walks and errors -- plated six runs and ended any suspense.

Auerbach kept vending donuts, and Summit booked their ticket to the second round of the North 2, Group 3 tournament.

Hilltopper Head Coach Tim Simo was very satisfied with the team’s efforts defensively, saying,”Sami keeps us in games. The defense did a great job behind her. We had timely hits again. We know how to win games.”

Summit will now travel to take on number-four seed Chatham May 22. First pitch is set for 4 p.m.

Kyle Standing is a Summit High School sophomore.