UNION – A month ago Roselle Park held on for a one-run win at home over Elizabeth, the only run scoring in the bottom of the first.
On Saturday in the county semifinals, Roselle Park gave its standout pitcher Maddie Hummel much more than just one run to work with.
The top-seeded Panthers broke open a scoreless deadlock with three runs in the bottom of the third and then added one more in the fourth and two more in the sixth en route to a dominating 6-0 win over fifth-seeded Elizabeth in the first of Saturday’s two softball Union County Tournament semifinal contests at Kean University’s Cougar Field.
As a result, Roselle Park (18-1) advanced to the championship game for the first time since the last year the Panthers won the event, which was 2004. Roselle Park has won the UCT three times, with its first championship coming in 1982 and second in 2003.
Hummel tossed a four-hitter and shut out Elizabeth for the second time this year. Back on April 13 at Roselle Park, Hummel blanked Elizabeth 1-0 on a three-hitter. She also had Roselle Park’s only hit in that game.
Roselle Park junior catcher Hailey Ortega, the team’s leadoff batter, produced three of the nine hits the Panthers banged out Saturday. Her first hit, an opposite field RBI-single to right in the third, put Roselle Park up 2-0. The first Panther run was unearned.
Ortega also delivered an RBI-single to left-center in the fourth and a two-run single through to center field in the sixth.
Madison Cieslinski drove in Roselle Park’s third run on an RBI-double to left-center.
Roselle Park senior shortstop Angelina Chacon made a fine leaping catch of a line drive in the top of the fourth.
Elizabeth’s center fielder made a fine, backhanded, one-hand catch running to her right in the bottom of the second.
Elizabeth’s second baseman made a fine play diving to her right in the bottom of the fifth for a 4-3 putout that prevented a Roselle Park hit.
Elizabeth’s pitcher hit an opposite field double to right-center in the top of the seventh. The Minutemen had runners on second and third with nobody out in the seventh, but Hummel got out of the jam to hold on for her fifth shutout.
43rd ANNUAL UCT FINAL AT KEAN UNIVERSITY
Sunday, May 6:
3-Westfield (9-8) vs. 1-Roselle Park (18-1), 2 p.m.
UCT SEMIFINALS AT KEAN UNIVERSITY
Saturday, May 5:
Roselle Park 6, Elizabeth 0
Westfield 6, Gov. Livingston 4
Third-seeded Westfield came back from two one-run deficits to defeat second-seeded and defending champion Governor Livingston 6-4 in the nightcap.
Westfield scored first in the first inning on an opposite field triple to right and then GL came back with two runs in the bottom of the first. The Highlanders got hits from their first three batters and scored two runs on three hits in the inning.
Freshman right hander Michaela Hobson took over mound duties for Westfield with runners on second and third and no outs in the second. Hobson kept GL off the scoreboard the rest of the inning, which included a runner getting tagged out in a rundown between third and home.
Westfield’s No. 17 then led off the top of the third with a solo home run over the center field fence to tie the score at 2-2.
GL took its second and final lead of 3-2 in the bottom of the third on a solo home run hit over the fence by No. 12.
Hobson hit a solo home run over the left field fence in the top of the fifth to tie the game once again at 3-3.
Westfield then took the lead for good at 4-3 after scoring one run in the top of the sixth. Hobson produced the game-winning hit when she blasted a shot the opposite way to right field for an RBI-single that drove in the fourth run.
Rachel Rothenberg delivered an opposite field two-run single to right in the seventh to give Westfield two big insurance runs and a 6-3 lead.
GL came back with a run in the bottom of the seventh after No. 22 led off with a double and was brought home with a single by No. 4.
The Highlanders had runners on second and third when the final out was a fly ball to center.
Westfield last won the UCT in 2014 and Roselle Park in 2004.
FIRST UCT SOFTBALL SEMIFINAL AT KEAN:
5-Elizabeth (7-8) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 – 0 4 3
1-Roselle Park (18-1) 0 0 3 1 0 2 x – 6 9 1
WINNING PITCHER: Maddie Hummel, junior RH
SECOND UCT SOFTBALL SEMIFINAL AT KEAN:
3-Westfield (9-8) 1 0 1 0 1 1 2 – 6 12 1
2-Gov. Livingston (11-5) 2 0 1 0 0 0 1 – 4 10 1
WINNING PITCHER: Michaela Hobson, freshman RH (in relief)