|VIDEO: Cedar Grove tops Henry Hudson to win state championship|
The Cedar Grove softball team completed its unlikely journey to a state championship with an impressive 10-1 triumph in the state final against Henry Hudson. Autumn Spinella drove in five runs and Kelly Toomey pitched a five-hitter for the Panthers.
The title is the first for Cedar Grove since 1979.
Spinella drove in the first run of the game for the Panthers in the bottom of the first, then put the game away with a grand slam in the sixth inning. She also made a key defensive play, tagging out a runner trying to score on a wild pitch in the top of the first.
Every Cedar Grove starter had at least one hit as the Panthers totalled 14 hits for the game. Erin Stacevicz and Liz Dillard both went 2-for-4 with an RBI, while Samantha Brancato ripped a two-run double.
Freshman pitcher Toomey struck out four while walking just one.
Emma Curry had three hits for Henry Hudson and scored the only run for the Admirals on a single by Linda Gallagher. Henry Hudson, a member of the Shore Conference best known as the alma mater of film director Kevin Smith, finishes the season 21-3.
The match-up at Kean University was a surprise to nearly everyone. Cedar Grove rebounded from a rough stretch late in the regular season to win the sectional title with a stunning upset of Butler. The Panthers played in the finals for the first time in 11 years. Henry Hudson won its first sectional crown in three decades and made the state final for the first time ever.
For sports video highlights of this New Jersey high school girls' softball state tournament final, click play in the box at left.