UNION – Westfield had baserunners every inning.
That wasn’t a problem.
However, the Blue Devils stranded eight, including six in scoring position. They advanced a runner to third base in four of their seven at-bats.
That’s not a bad job at all against one of the best pitchers in the county.
However, getting batters on base was simply not good enough.
Because when it came time to get the big hit, Roselle Park junior right hander Maddie Hummel was there to get the big out time and time again.
Hummel worked her way out of several minor jams en route to tossing a five-hit shutout in leading top-seeded Roselle Park past third-seeded Westfield 2-0 in Sunday’s 43rd annual softball Union County Tournament championship game.
The title contest was held at Kean University’s Cougar Field for the eighth time in the past nine seasons.
With two outs in the top of the seventh and Bridget Hyland on first for the Blue Devils, up to the plate stepped slugger Erica Lawrence. In Saturday’s 6-4 semifinal win over second-seeded and defending champion Governor Livingston, Lawrence blasted a solo home run over the center field fence.
Hummel was aware of that and continued to challenge Lawrence, who grounded out her first three times up.
After Lawrence fouled off several pitches to stay alive, Hummel got one of Westfield’s best hitters to ground out again, this time to first baseman Emma Cieslinski.
Just like that, Roselle Park (19-1) was the UCT champion for the fourth time overall and for the first time since 2004.
“Today I had to stay focused and I wanted to mix up my pitches,” said Hummel, who improved to 14-1 on the season and tossed her seventh shutout.
Westfield (9-9) shouldn’t feel too bad for not scoring. Union Catholic and Elizabeth didn’t score either against Hummel in UCT competition. Hummel shut out eighth-seeded Union Catholic 5-0 at home in Wednesday’s quarterfinal round action and on Saturday Hummel blanked Elizabeth for the second time this season, this time by the score of 6-0.
Westfield first had a runner on third in the first inning and Hummel ended the frame on a ground out. The Blue Devils next had a runner reach third in the third inning, with Hummel halting the threat with her second and final strikeout, which came on an off-speed pitch.
When Westfield had a runner on third with two outs in the fourth, Hummel got the next batter to pop up to her.
Hummel jammed Lawrence with a runner on second and two down in the sixth, getting Lawrence to ground out to second on the first pitch she saw in that at-bat.
After opposing pitcher Michaela Hobson connected for her second double, Westfield had runners on second and third with just one out in the sixth. Hummel then retired the next two batters on a foul out to catcher Hailey Ortega and a low line drive which senior shortstop Angelina Chacon made a nice catch on. That was probably the defensive play of the game.
“When there are runners on base and there is pressure to get the batter out I just try to work hard,” Hummel said.
Hummel began the game by pitching solely inside to each Westfield batter.
“Westfield swings the bat well and we were looking to tie their batters up and not let them get their hands out,” Roselle Park head coach Fran Maggio said. “This was a game that Maddie simply gutted it out.
“This was her third game in four days. The weather got hot this week and I think that played a part.
“Was she at her absolute best? No. However, she gutted it out. She now has so much big-game experience that she’s not fazed by anything.”
Roselle Park previously won a UCC-crossover game at Westfield 11-1 on April 17.
“In that game I was throwing mostly outside pitches,” Hummel said. “Today was totally different.”
Sunday’s only run production came in the bottom of the first against Hobson, who also excelled on the mound and tossed a three-hitter that included five strikeouts, two walks and one hit batter. At the plate, Hobson reached base all three times, including a walk in the first inning, and was 2-for-2 with her two doubles.
The first three Roselle Park batters reached against Hobson. She hit Ortega on the foot with her first pitch and then walked Sarah Lippin. Hummel then followed with an RBI-single up the middle for what turned out to be the game-winning hit, giving Roselle Park a 1-0 lead.
After Hobson struck out the next two batters, Merissa Gilic came through with a big, insurance RBI-single up the middle to drive in Lippin and make the score 2-0.
Last year Roselle Park was the fourth seed and lost at home to 13th-seeded Scotch Plains 4-1 in the first round. The Panthers defeated Scotch Plains before and after that loss in Union County Conference-Mountain Division play.
Making up for that in this year’s tournament was a goal the Panthers set when the season began.
“Last year was really upsetting and we were down when we lost,” Hummel said. “That motivated us. Then we got the first seed and that made us work even harder.”
Roselle Park outscored its four UCT opponents by an impressive 28-4 margin.
NOTES: Roselle Park played every day this week, going 6-1, including a now six-game winning streak after Monday’s 1-0 loss at Watchung Hills, which followed a 13-0 start.
This was the first year that Governor Livingston was not in the final since 2009 when Union defeated Linden 3-1 in the final at Linden.
The defending champion Highlanders advanced to the past eight championship games, winning four of them.
Head coach Caitlin MacDonald, now in her 10th season at the helm of the Blue Devils, guided Westfield to back-to-back UCT championships in 2013 and 2014.
Westfield, which has won the second-most UCT titles with nine, lost in the final for the first time since 2011.
Roselle Park won its first three UCT crowns in 1982, 2003 and 2004.
43RD ANNUAL SOFTBALL UNION COUNTY TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONSHIP GAME AT KEAN UNIVERSITY’S
3-Westfield (9-9) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 – 0 5 1
1-Roselle Park (19-1) 2 0 0 0 0 0 x – 2 3 0
Roselle Park junior RH Maddie Hummel (14-1)
7 innings complete: 0 runs on 5 hits and 2 strikeouts, 3 walks
Westfield freshman RH Michaela Hobson
6 innings complete: 2 runs on 3 hits and 5 strikeouts, 2 walks, 1 hit batter
Hobson pitched perfect innings in the second, third and fourth and
retired 10 batters in a row from the first inning to the fifth.
WESTFIELD HITS (5):
Bridget Hyland – opposite field bunt single to 3B leading off game.
Michaela Hobson – double to left-center in the fourth.
Rachel Rothenberg – infield single in the fifth.
Michaela Hobson – double to right-center in the sixth.
Bridget Hyland – opposite field single to left in the seventh.
ROSELLE PARK HITS (3):
Maddie Hummel – RBI-single to center in the first.
Merissa Gilic – RBI-single to center in the first.
Madison Cieslinski – single to left leading off the sixth.
3-WESTFIELD BLUE DEVILS (9-9):
22-Bridget Hyland, senior designated player
17-Erica Lawrence, junior catcher
19-Genevieve Howell, junior left fielder
16-Julia Romano, junior shortstop
23-Michaela Hobson, freshman pitcher
18-Ally Gulla, senior second baseman
6-Natalie Patterson, senior first baseman
9-Rachel Rothenberg, junior third baseman
15-Jordan Sacher, senior center fielder
1-Emma Pietriewicz, freshman flex/right fielder
5-Caroline Dwyer, sophomore courtesy runner
14-Emily Wistner, junior
4-Julia Gagliardi, sophomore
8-Haley Tomasso, senior
10-Meg Prasek, sophomore
12-Kayla Tupper, senior
10-Lauren Sullivan, junior
Head coach: Caitlin MacDonald, 10th season
1-ROSELLE PARK PANTHERS (19-1):
8-Hailey Ortega, junior catcher
2-Sarah Lippin, sophomore center fielder
5-Maddie Hummel, junior pitcher
17-Madison Cieslinski, sophomore second baseman
24-Angelina Chacon, senior shortstop
4-Merissa Gilic, senior right fielder
9-Gabby Scott, sophomore designated player
19-Paige Junior, senior left fielder
6-Lexi Cieslinski, sophomore third baseman
29-Emma Cieslinski, sophomore flex/first baseman
15-Meaghan Mooney, junior
Head coach: Fran Maggio, 22nd season
43RD ANNUAL SOFTBALL UNION COUNTY TOURNAMENT
SEEDS: 1-Roselle Park. 2-Gov. Livingston. 3-Westfield. 4-Johnson.
5-Elizabeth. 6-Cranford. 7-Brearley. 8-Union Catholic.
9-Dayton. 10-Benedictine. 11-Scotch Plains. 12-Kent Place.
13-Summit. 14-Union. 15-Oak Knoll. 16-Rahway.
17-Plainfield. 18-Linden. 19-Roselle Catholic.
Tuesday, April 24
Union 17, Roselle Catholic 0 – at Union
Thursday, April 26
Plainfield 12, Rahway 2 – at Rahway
Friday, April 27
Oak Knoll 17, Linden 10 – at Oak Knoll
Saturday, April 28
Roselle Park 15, Plainfield 4 – at Roselle Park
Union Catholic 3, Dayton 2 – at Union Catholic
Summit 1, Johnson 0 – at Johnson
Elizabeth 4, Kent Place 1 – at Elizabeth
Gov. Livingston 11, Oak Knoll 0 – at GL
Cranford 5, Scotch Plains 2 – at Cranford
Monday, April 30
Westfield 3, Union 2 – at Westfield
Brearley 15, Benedictine 1 – at Brearley
Wednesday, May 2
Roselle Park 5, Union Catholic 0 – at Roselle Park
Elizabeth 3, Summit 2 – at Elizabeth
Gov. Livingston 5, Brearley 0 – at GL
Westfield 7, Cranford 3 – at Westfield
Saturday, May 5
At Kean University
Roselle Park 6, Elizabeth 0
Westfield 6, Gov. Livingston 4
Sunday, May 6
At Kean University
Roselle Park 2, Westfield 0
UCT SOFTBALL CHAMPIONS:
2018: Roselle Park – WP: Maddie Hummel
2017: Governor Livingston – WP: Alanna Namit
2016; Johnson – WP: Gianna Randazza
2015: Governor Livingston – WP: Alanna Namit
2014: Westfield – WP: Elena Scarano
2013: Westfield – WP: Elena Scarano
2012: Governor Livingston – WP: Jordan Robbins
2011: Governor Livingston – WP: Jordan Robbins
2010: Cranford – WP: Kelly Hardman
2009: Union – WP: Amanda Kardys
2008: Cranford – WP: Kelly Hardman
2007: Cranford – WP: Kelly Hardman
2006: Cranford – WP: Elena Morge
2005: Brearley – WP: Jenna Vitale
2004: Roselle Park – WP: Becky Riccitelli
2003: Roselle Park – WP: Becky Riccitelli
2002: Cranford – WP: Christine Pemoulie
2001: Governor Livingston – WP: Lyndsey Sheppard
2000: Union – WP: Rayneesha Adams
1999: Governor Livingston – WP: Gina Turturiello
1998: Westfield – won as 6th seed; WP: Shannon Wagner
1997: Governor Livingston
1996: Union – WP: Laura Labonia
1995: Union – WP: Laura Labonia
1994: Union – WP: Laura Labonia
1993: Union – WP: Alison Brehm
1989: Union Catholic
1982: Roselle Park
1981: Johnson Regional
1979: Johnson Regional
1977: Scotch Plains
Gov. Livingston (7)
Roselle Park (4)
Johnson Regional-Johnson (3)
Scotch Plains (1)
Union Catholic (1)
UCT SOFTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME SCORES
2018: Roselle Park 2, Westfield 0 – at Kean
2017: GL 1, Johnson 0 – at Linden
2016: Johnson 7, GL 0 – at Kean
2015: GL 4, Cranford 3 – at Kean
2014: Westfield 5, GL 2 – at Kean
2013: Westfield 15, GL 1 – at Kean
2012: GL 9, New Providence 2 – at Kean
2011: GL 8, Westfield 1 – at Kean
2010: Cranford 4, GL 3 – at Kean
2009: Union 3, Linden 1 – at Linden
2008: Cranford 2, Union 0 – at Linden
2007: Cranford 13, Linden 0 – at Linden
2006: Cranford 1, GL 0 – at Linden
2005: Brearley 2, GL 1 (10 inn.) – at Linden
2004: Roselle Park 2, Cranford 1 (13 inn.) – at Linden
2003: Roselle Park 1, Cranford 0 (11 inn.) – at Linden
2002: Cranford 3, Union 0 – at Linden
2001: GL 3, Scotch Plains 0 – at Linden
2000: Union 2, GL 1 – at Linden
1999: GL 8, Johnson 3 – at Linden
1998: Westfield 9, Roselle Park 0 – at Linden
1997: Gov. Livingston 5, Cranford 0 – at Linden
1996: Union 4, Johnson 3 – at Linden
1995: Union 11, Westfield 0 – at Linden
1994: Union 8, Cranford 7 – at Linden
1993: Union 16, Cranford 14 – at Linden
1992: Union 13, Westfield 0 – at Linden
1991: Union 1, Roselle Park 0 – at Linden
1990: Westfield 3, Union 0 – at Linden
1989: Union Catholic 4, Union 2 – at Linden
1988: Union 1, Roselle Park 0 – at Linden
1987: Union 3, Roselle Park 0 – at Linden