East Rutherford gains 1-0 lead vs. Lady Jets
In a series pitting two softball teams looking for their first-ever state championships, West Region champ East Rutherford held the tying Lady Jet runner on third base in the final frame for a 2-1 victory over East Region champ Jordan-Matthews in game one of the best-of-three series Friday night at Walnut Creek Softball Complex.
Jordan-Matthews (23-5) put two runners on in the sixth and seventh innings but couldn't push across the tying run.
Madison Poe started the sixth with a single and Caroline Webster singled with two down but East Rutherford, led by Savannah Davis pitching a complete game five-hitter, stranded Poe and Webster.
One out into the Lady Jet seventh, Katie Black hit a bouncer into center field for a single, then Kaitlin James reached on a Lady Cavalier error, a dropped pop up by the second baseman.
With pinch runners on for both Jet runners, Alestra Lask alertly raced into third on Hanna Stackhouse's pop-up in the middle of the infield which went for the second out, but no Cavalier covered third and Lask saw the situation.
Poe, who was 2 for 3 already on the evening, nearly came through with a huge hit, but her liner into center stayed up enough for a catch on the run for the final out.
East Rutherford pushed a run across in the first and second innings against Lady Jet pitcher Holly Clark, the starter for every Jet game this season.
Jordan-Matthews got on the board in the top of the third. James walked to start the inning. A bunt by Stackhouse and a grounder by Poe moved James to third. With two outs, Dee DeCristofaro drilled a shot over the second baseman's head for an RBI single.
A big defensive play kept the Lady Jets within a run in the East Rutherford third. With two down and a runner on first, a shot to the fence in left center field looked good enough to bring a run in until Lask, in center, Poe, at shortstop, and DeCristofaro, at the plate, teamed for a fine relay barely in time keeping the score 2-1, which still proved enough for East Rutherford.
The Lady Jets let too many scoring chances escape said head coach Chris Mote.
"If we execute at the plate, we score the runs we need to win this game," he said.
Clark finished with 11 strikeouts and two walks in a complete game.
"(Clark) has been doing the job all year for us. We have to do a better job at the plate," said Mote.
The Lady Cavaliers finished with eight hits. Davis singled and scored in the first and finished 2 for 3 at the plate. Clean-up hitter Ashlyn Vickers went 2 for 2 with a double and a walk.
Jordan-Matthews still has a shot at its first state title, though it'll take going 2 for 2 today. Game two is slated for an 11 a.m. start at Walnut Creek Softball Complex. If the Lady Jets win game two, game three will start at 2 p.m.