Mount St. Dominic earned 10-5 victory over Immaculate Heart in Monday's completion of the Non-Public, North A state sectional final with several key performers including freshman pitcher Erin Toomey whose work in the circle helped lead to a celebration plus fired up performers such as Carlee Paez (23) who is exctied after her RBI single, left fielder Olviia Bibbo making superb catch, Sydney Rosenkranz connecting on her critical sixth-inning home run and Bibbo extending in atempt to beat throw to IHA first baseman Tali LoCurto (17). In the end the Lions could gather around the NJSIAA state sectional championship trophy. (Photos by Jeff Stiefbold - jstiefbold.smugmug.com)
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Toomey’s pitching line (5 2/3 IP, 10 HA, 2 BB, 4 K’s, 4 R, 2 ER) may not have been what she would want, but the results in big spots were significant for the benefit of the Lions, particularly in the pivotal sixth inning.
IHA’s Noelle Urbaniak came into Monday ahead on the count, 3-0, and drew a first pitch ball four and a walk to get things started vs. Toomey in the resumption of play. Gianna DiMeglio then singled sharply up the middle and when Kaitlyn Mikros grounder toward the circle was thrown by Toomey over Rosenkranz head in an attempt to hold the runner at third, the bases were loaded with Blue Eagles.
However, Toomey did a superb job of limiting damage. After another ground ball for the first out with Urbaniak scoring the tying run, the Mount freshman hurler induced a short fly to right field as the runners held and then a comebacker to the mound for the third out to keep the game at 5-5.
“I was actually surprised when they had first and third that they didn’t bunt and then we make a mistake to load the bases, but then Erin settled it down,” said Mount coach Rob Stern. “To give up just one run I that situation was outstanding.”
Toomey felt the support that she had in back of her in the field in order to bear down and get the outs she needed to get.
“I have confidence in my team and I knew, especially after I made that errant throw toward the plate, that it was up to me to hold them to one run,” said the young Lions pitcher. “I also knew that my team would come back and make something happen when we came up.”
Rosenkranz’s teammates knew that they could count on their power-hitting catcher to make something very special happen in the bottom of the sixth.
“Sydney is one of our biggest leaders and when she got up we all trusted that she was going to do her job and get a big hit,” said Sasfai. “I remember when she was in a similar situation when we were sophomores and she didn’t deliver, but I knew that she was so very capable of coming through this time.
“Her home run gave us awesome energy and with Erin limiting the damage out there before we came up again, the stage was set for us to have a big inning.”
Following Rosenkranz’s home run for a 6-5 lead Gianna Stern delivered a hard-hit single to left-center field. Adrianna Cacciacarne put down a well-placed sacrifice bunt and an infield error on the throw to first put runners at the corners with no one out.
Somsky then hit a hard single to deep left-center field to drive in Stern from third to make it 7-5. IHA brought in freshman reliever Natalie Bonsignore and after Sasfai drew a walk to load the bases again, the next two Mount batters struck out before walks to both Bibbo and Rosenkranz led to two more runs and a 10-5 lead.
Toomey then finished the job with her ultra-efficient 1-2-3 seventh and the celebration could begin.
“We have an amazing team,” said Sasfai, who reached base three times in the game. “And, we’ve been in these types of situations before when we had to finish a game a few days or more after it started.
“The biggest thing is to always bring the energy and we did just that today and thanks to Sydney’s home run getting us going there in the sixth, and Erin performing the way she did we knew we could win this game and now we’re going to get ready for a state final which is a dream come true!”
NOTES- IHA had entered the Non-Public, North A final with an eight-game winning streak, including five straight shutout victories….IHA had defeated Ramsey, 1-0, in the Bergen County Tournament final…Among those on hand to watch the Mount win a second straight North A final vs. IHA was last year’s winning pitcher, Sophia Kiseloski, who just completed her freshman season for Manhattan College…The Blue Eagles had taken a 3-0 first inning lead vs. the Mount on Friday beginning with Shadek’s line-drive home run over the center field fence, but the Mount battled back with one in the first and two more runs in the second…Paez had a big RBI single in the Lions big 2-run fifth inning on Friday to give her team a 5-4 lead at the time…Mount head coach Stern credited assistant Ashley DeYoung with calling a great game with the pitch selection she delivered for Rosenkranz and Toomey in the circle, who had a very effective curve going vs. IHA in Monday’s final two innings of work...Erin Toomey has now joined older sibling Kelly, who was in the circle when Cedar Grove defeated Butler, 5-4, for a 2016 state sectional title, as sisters who have pitched their teams to state sectional titles.
Non-Public, North A final:
(2) IMMACULATE HEART (25-5) 300 011 0 - 5 R 10 H 2 E
(1) MOUNT ST. DOMINIC (24-7) 120 025 X -10 R 10 H 1 E
2B- IHA- Gabby Shadek, Mount- Carlee Paez HR- IHA- Shadek (15th)
Mount- Sydney Rosenkranz (12th)
WP- Erin Toomey LP- Arianna Barrett
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IHA's Arianna Barrett (24) puts her all behind pitch against Mount St. Dominic while Blue Eagles' Gianna DiMeglio (9) slides into third base as the Lions' Oliva Sasfai takes throw in the 2-day Non-Public, North A final. IHA's Gabby Shadek (14) shows her power at the plate, the Mount's Gianna Stern reaches for the base ahead of a tag, and -ultimately- the Lions can raise the NJSIAA trophy after running out on field after final out is recorded.
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