|VIDEO: Passaic Valley edged by Cedar Grove in softball|
This always seems to be the time of year the Cedar Grove softball team starts to play its best. With the state tournament looming, the Panthers showed they are ready with a 4-2 win over a quality Passaic Valley team.
The Panthers scored three times in the first inning to give pitcher Gabby Castelli an early cushion. A run on a double steal in the fourth made it a 4-0 lead.
Castelli struck out eight batters in the first three innings, and although she seemed to tire, she kept the Hornets at bay until the seventh, when Jada Fields lifted a two-run homer over the left-field fence. Passaic Valley was able to bring the tying run to the plate but Castelli ended the game with her 10th strikeout.
Candace Mitola, Autumn Spinella and Castelli had RBIs in the Panthers' key first-inning rally.
Passaic Valley pitcher Kate Kallert struck out 15 batters. Jennifer Dallicardillo and Ashley Pezzutti had two hits apiece. The Hornets are 15-6.
Cedar Grove improves to 14-8. The Panthers play in the Essex County tournament semifinals Friday against Mount St. Dominic before opening state tournament play next Tuesday.
For sports video highlights of this Essex County vs. Passaic County softball game, click play in the box at left.