|VIDEO: Saddle Brook bounces Cedar Grove on DiGiacomo's shutout|
Behind a five-hit shutout by Taryn DiGiacomo, the Saddle Brook softball team moved on to another sectional final. The Falcons pushed across three runs in the fourth inning to defeat defending state champion Cedar Grove, 3-0.
DiGiacomo struck out 10 batters and walked only one in this North 1, Group I semifinal. She didn't allow a single Cedar Grove baserunner to advance past second base.
The Falcons used three hits, two walks and a hit batsman to score all of their runs in the fourth inning. Alexis Deperi started the rally with an infield hit. After a walk, Morgan Santora delivered a single through the middle, and Deperi scored when the return throw to the infield got away and went out of play.
With two outs, Tori Lipari came up with a big RBI single to double the lead. The third run scored when Alexis LoBue was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
Other than the one rough inning, Cedar Grove pitcher Kelly Toomey was effective. She allowed six hits while striking out three. Cali McCabe had the only extra base-hit of the game, a double in the seventh inning.
The fourth-seeded Panthers finish the season 17-13. After graduating several of the stars of last year's championship squad, Cedar Grove had only one senior on the team this year.
Santora and Lipari had two hits apiece for the Falcons, who improve to 26-4.
Saddle Brook is traditionally one of the top softball teams among small schools in New Jersey. The Falcons have won six sectional titles and reached the state final five times, but have never won a state championship. If they are to change that, they'll have to get past a very tough second-seeded Butler team in the North 1, Group I sectional final.
For sports video highlights of this New Jersey high school girls' softball state tournament game, click play in the box at left.