|VIDEO: Walkoff hit gives Immaculate Conception a three-peat|
Despite missing numerous chances, the Immaculate Conception softball team never gave up in its state final. The Blue Wolves finally broke through in the late innings, and pulled out a dramatic 2-1 win over St. Joseph of Hammonton on a walkoff hit to win their third consecutive title.
Andee Lupica lined a one-out single in the bottom of the seventh to bring home Gabby Fredette with the winning run. Fredette reached on an error to start the inning and moved to second on a sacrifice.
St. Joseph, aiming for its first state title
Immaculate Conception had plenty of baserunners throughout the game, but couldn't break through against St. Joseph pitcher Taylor Sirolli. The Wildcats protected a 1-0 lead until the sixth, when Ashley Cantone's sacrifice fly brought home the tying run.
St. Joseph scored in the first inning as Mikaela Power hustled home on a wild pitch. A key error helped set up the run, but the Blue Wolves would not make another miscue in the game.
The Wildcats had their chances to score in later innings, but Immaculate Conception pitcher Sarah Piening kept her team in the game. She left the bases loaded in the third inning, and recorded two strikeouts in the top of the sixth to strand a runner at third base.
Piening struck out nine while allowing just four hits in the game played at Kean University.
St. Joseph, which fell 5-0 to Immaculate Conception in last year's Non-Public B state final, finishes the season at 24-6.
The Blue Wolves went 22-5 this spring as they lifted the state championship trophy for the third straight year.
For sports video highlights of this New Jersey high school girls' softball state tournament final, click play in the box at left.