|VIDEO: Cedar Grove slips past Ridgefield to reach state final|
Not many people expected Cedar Grove to reach the softball state finals.
But after pulling off a huge upset to win a sectional title, the Panthers took advantage of their opportunity in the Group I state semifinals. Behind a two-hit performance by freshman pitcher Kelly Toomey, Cedar Grove defeated Ridgefield, 4-1.
Kailey Weinstein had two hits and drove in three runs for the Panthers. Weinstein's two-run single in the bottom of the sixth gave Cedar Grove a cushion after Ridgefield had pulled within 2-1 in the top of the inning.
Erin Stacevicz had only one hit, but her speed was a crucial weapon for the Panthers. Stacevicz twice hustled to third base on errors, and would come in to score both times. She beat a play at the plate on a squeeze bunt by Weinstein in the third inning for the game's first run. A bases-loaded walk by Daniella Cordasco plated the second run in that frame.
Toomey struck out three in earning the win in the circle. She did walk five batters and hit one. An RBI walk by Emily Griffin brought home Ridgefield's run in the sixth, but Toomey fought back to get the next batter to ground out and end the inning.
Ridgefield pitcher Marissa Semeraro allowed two earned runs on six hits while striking out four. Viv Carrero had a triple for the Royals.
After winning its first-ever sectional title in softball, Ridgefield finishes the season at 23-7.
Cedar Grove improves to 23-8 with the win. The Panthers, who stunned Butler in the sectional final, will play in the state final for the first time in 11 years, and will seek their first state title since 1979.
The Group I final matches Cedar Grove against Henry Hudson; that game is set for Saturday afternoon at Kean University.
For sports video highlights of this New Jersey high school girls' softball state tournament semifinal game, click play in the box at left.