WESTFIELD, NJ – In the latest installment of the Raiders-Blue Devils rivalry, Westfield High School varsity softball came out on top of visiting Scotch Plains-Fanwood Thursday courtesy of a complete game shutout by starter Bridget Hyland.
Hyland fired on all cylinders, allowing just one hit over the first five innings, and just four during the game. The sophomore outshined Scotch Plains hurler Zoe Cardenas, whose afternoon was stalled early.
Westfield chased Cardenas after just two-plus innings pitched and a three-run deficit. The Lady Blue Devils tallied one in the first inning, and then two more in the third before Cardenas was pulled.
Both runs in the third inning came unearned after a throwing error on Lauren Fernandez’s sacrifice bunt attempt, putting two runners in scoring position with no outs. Junior Danielle Rinaldi struck a bases-clearing double on Cardenas’s next pitch, which was also the last she would throw.
Scotch Plains head coach Jess Hulnik said her team didn’t get down despite the costly defensive lapse.
“They have some really good hitters, and we had a couple of miscues, but we didn’t let it take us out of the game," she said.
Junior Jessica Waltsak gave the Raiders a shot at mounting a comeback by allowing just one run on two hits and two walks over four innings of work. Scotch Plains’ offense caught heat in the late innings, with eight base runners over the last two innings, but runs were elusive. The Raiders stranded the bases loaded in the 6th, and left two more runners on in the 7th.
“We slowly started to make adjustments and just couldn’t push one across when we needed to,” Hulnik said. “We just couldn’t get that timely hit with runners in scoring position.”