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***SC presents top Essex County honors for 2024 season including Player, Pitcher, Coach & Team of the Year to commemorate season that had many intriguing contests!

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***All the players involved in the NJ Pride Super 36 All-Star Game are winners in the end along with a certain beloved retired coach of the year. Read "Feature Articles"

***Youngsters can gain great deal of knowledge and have fun doing it at the Sergio Rodriguez Softball Camp July 15-17. See "The Buzz"

 

Jill Cianfrocca of Mount St. Dominic is Sideline Chatter's 2024 Essex County Player of the Year for softball season and Mount was the No. 1 team while going undefeated against all of the Essex teams during the spring campaign. (Photo by Jeff Stiefbold - jstiefbold.smugmug.com)

SEC-American And ECT Champion Mount
Tops SC’s All-Essex Honors In 2024 Season

By Steve Tober
For sidelinechatter.com

Essex County Player of the Year: Jill Cianfrocca, sophomore, Mount St. Dominic
Mount St. Dominic’s young lineup included five freshmen and a very precocious sophomore slugger in Cianfrocca who finished a banner season hitting .500 with 44 runs, 48 hits and 36 RBI. She had 28 extra base hits, including 17 doubles and 8 home runs to boost an incredible .990 slugging %. In one 4-game stretch in April she went 11-for-18 with three doubles, two home runs, 9 RBI and seven runs scored, including going 3-for-4 with a double and 2 RBI in an early-season 5-1 win vs. eventual Group 1 champion Cedar Grove. In a game vs. Montclair, Cianfrocca was a perfect 4-for-4 with a double, two homers and 7 RBI. Overall, she proved to be a handful for any pitcher in the state.

Runner-Up Player of the Year: Gianna Stern, senior, Mount St. Dominic
The slick-fielding second baseman, one of the top defensive players in the state and daughter of Mount head coach Rob Stern, had a superb season at the plate batting .476 with 27 runs, 49 hits and 32 RBI, including 12 doubles and 3 home runs and a .680 slugging %. The Monmouth University-bound veteran infielder and senior tri-captain was an ultimate leader for a very young Mount team. It was also fitting that in her final home game to cap a superb 4-year career she hit a go-ahead double in the third inning, a leadoff home run in the fourth and a 2-run single in the sixth as the Lions roared past Pope John, 10-0, in six innings, to capture the Non-Public, North A state sectional title.

Pitcher of the Year: Ava Kelshaw, freshman, Mount St. Dominic
The young phenom in the circle was undefeated in Essex County while posting a superb 1.25 ERA with 229 strikeouts in 174 innings while allowing 113 hits, and just 31 earned runs while walking 32. She pitched in all the big games for the Mount against one of the most strenuous independent schedules in the state and led her team to conference, county and state section supremacy in her rookie high school campaign. She hurled a 6-inning 1-hitter with six strikeouts in the Non-Public, North A state sectional final vs. Pope John.

Runner-Up Pitcher of the Year: Sophia Mount, senior, Livingston
The Villanova commit had tasted ultimate factory as a freshman when she helped lead the Lancers to a Group 4 state title in 2021 and repeats as SC’s runner-up as Essex Pitcher of the Year after posting a 1.48 ERA while striking out 245 in 156 innings while allowing 90 hits and walking 76. The veteran right-hander always worked well with pitching coach Ian Matten and produced many a key victory for the Lancers.

Newcomer of the Year: Ava Kelshaw, freshman, Mount St. Dominic

Runner-Up Newcomer of the Year: Brooke Mundy, freshman, Mount St. Dominic
Mundy impressed New Jersey softball fans with her superb and very advanced work behind the plate for a freshman, while handling all the strenuous in-game situations against a first-rate schedule in a calm and consistent fashion for the Lions and the defensive stalwart also contributed to the offense while batting .292 with 12 RBI.   

Coach of the Year: Mike Teshkoyan, Caldwell
The longtime Chiefs coach, who had some historic Essex County Tournament championship teams in the 1980s, produced a revival of sorts this spring which conjured up memories of some of those championship teams he coached with his late brother Mark. The ‘Teshkoyan Touch,’ which engenders a positive atmosphere with the associated team-bonding, worked seamlessly with an enthusiastic and ultimately successful Caldwell team that won 19 games, went .500 (6-6) in the rigorous SEC-American Division and also advanced into the semifinals of the North 2, Group 2 state tournament. Mike ‘Tesh’ also moved into second place on the state’s all-time victories list with 745 wins in 38 seasons behind only South Plainfield’s Don Panzarella, who resigned after this season with 848 wins in 43 seasons.

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