ROSELLE PARK – The very good news for the Roselle Park softball team?
A third straight sectional state championship was captured for the first time in program history.
The very daunting – and quite expected – news for Roselle Park?
For the second time in 12 months the Panthers are faced with having to figure out standout Cedar Grove hurler Mia Faieta.
Top-seeded Roselle Park, led by its own star pitcher in Maddie Hummel, accomplished its main goal Tuesday, defeating sixth-seeded Belvidere 7-2 in the North 2, Group 1 sectional state championship game.
This puts the Panthers back in the Group 1 semifinals for the third straight season. Roselle Park lost to Butler 4-0 at Caldwell University two years ago and then to Cedar Grove and Faieta 2-0 at Montclair State last year.
Top-seeded Cedar Grove repeated as North 1, Group 1 state champs Tuesday when Faieta blanked second-seeded Hasbrouck Heights 7-0. Cedar Grove went on to win the Group 1 state championship last year for the second time in three seasons.
Roselle Park, which improved to 25-2 and has won a program best 25 games, won the Union County Tournament for the first time since 2004, winning as the top seed and by 2-0 shutout over Westfield. The Panthers have won four straight.
Cedar Grove, which also has 25 wins (25-5), won the Essex County Tournament for the first time since 2010, winning as the top seed and by 1-0 shutout over Mount St. Dominic. The Panthers are on an 11-game winning streak.
The Union County champion Panthers led by junior right hander Maddie Hummel vs. the Essex County champion Panthers guided by junior RH Mia Faieta – should be a good one.
“We know it won’t be any easier facing them a second time, but we’re now expecting what’s coming,” Hummel said. “Last year was a surprise and she (Faieta) had that 21 strikeout game (in the state tournament).
“We’ll be more relaxed and hopefully will play smarter this time.”
Both teams also won their division championships – Roselle Park 3-peated as outright Union County Conference-Mountain Division champs, while Cedar Grove shared the Super Essex Conference-American Division title with Mount St. Dominic.
In last year’s 2-0 Cedar Grove win Roselle Park did not have any success at the plate. Hummel walked once in three plate appearances.
“I struck out and didn’t hit the ball well at all,” said Hummel, who is also Roselle Park’s top hitter, batting third in the order. “This time I think we have to forget that she (Faieta) is this great pitcher. I’ll probably just swing at what looks good and not let anything get into my head.”
County crowns, division titles, 25 wins and now repeating as state sectional champions. The Panthers from Union County and Essex County have it all.
“This is a special group to achieve all three (county, division and section titles),” Roselle Park head coach Fran Maggio said. “It shows that the nucleus has been together for awhile.”
The Panthers have gone 61-25 now the past three seasons. This year’s squad followed up 2016 and 2017 teams that went 19-13 and 17-10 respectively.
“Winning 25 games for the first time puts us as an elite team I think,” said Maggio, who in 2003 guided a 24-1-1 Panther squad to the program’s only Group 1 state championship.
Hummel retired the final Belvidere batter on a strikeout looking. The inning before, Hummel recorded her 500th career strikeout to end the sixth. She now has 501.
Maggio, the winningest softball coach in Roselle Park history, has led Roselle Park to the last six of its nine state sectional championships. Before him John Wagner guided the Panthers to 317 wins and three state sectional championships (all in North 2, Group 1), including Group 1 runner-up finishes in 1980 and 1987.
Maggio, who also coached football under Wagner – who passed Herm Shaw (football field named after him) as the winningest football coach at Roselle Park – is seeking to lead the Panthers to their first Group 1 final appearance since 2003.
The North 2 vs. North 1 pitching matchup is Maddie Hummel (21-2) vs. Mia Faieta (17-4) – Thursday at 4 p.m. at Caldwell University, weather permitting. The NJSIAA has issued the rain date for Friday.
“As we get ready to prepare to face Mia again I think we’re more mature,” Maggio said. “We have a seasoned bunch.
“We have great respect for her, but I think this time we won’t be in as much awe.
“We know it will take a tremendous effort, but it’s possible. If we get our pitching and defense to hold up and stay close, anything can happen.
“I would like to think that there’s not that big of a gap between us.
“We’ll try to make something happen and hope for the best.”
ROSELLE PARK SOFTBALL 2018
NORTH 2, GROUP 1 STATE CHAMPIONS
A GOOD CAST IS WORTH REPEATING
8-junior catcher Hailey Ortega
2-sophomore center fielder Sarah Lippin
5-junior RH pitcher Maddie Hummel
17-sophomore second baseman Maddie Cieslinski
24-senior shortstop Angelina Chacon
4-senior right fielder Merissa Gilic
9-sophomore designated player Gabby Scott
19-senior left fielder Paige Junior
6-sophomore third baseman Lexi Cieslinski
29-sophomore flex Emma Cieslinski
13-junior substitute Meaghan Mooney
Head coach: Fran Maggio
Assistant coach: Jill Bury
ROSELLE PARK SOFTBALL
UNDER HEAD COACH FRAN MAGGIO,
who is the winningest softball coach in Roselle Park history
with a record now of 359-196-1 (.647) in his 22nd season
at the helm of the Panthers:
NORTH 2, GROUP 1
2018: Roselle Park 7, Belvidere 2 – at Roselle Park
Roselle Park was top seed and Belvidere the 6th.
Panthers will face Cedar Grove in Group 1 semifinal at Caldwell University.
Roselle Park sets program record with 25th win.
Panthers are 25-2 and have won four straight.
Roselle Park started 13-0, lost at Watchung Hills 1-0, won eight
more in a row and then lost at Hanover Park 5-3 before
the sectional playoffs.
Pitcher: Junior RH Maddie Hummel.
NORTH 2, GROUP 1
2017: Roselle Park 4, Brearley 3 – at Roselle Park
Roselle Park was 5th seed and Brearley the 7th.
Panthers fell to Cedar Grove 2-0 in Group 1 semifinal at Montclair State.
Roselle Park rebounded from 9-7 start to finish 17-10.
Pitcher: Sophomore RH Maddie Hummel.
NORTH 2, GROUP 1
2016: Roselle Park 4, Dayton 3 – at Dayton
Roselle Park was 7th seed and Dayton the top.
Panthers fell to Butler 4-0 in Group 1 semifinal at Caldwell University.
Roselle Park rebounded from 7-10 start to finish 19-13.
Pitcher: Freshman RH Maddie Hummel.
CENTRAL JERSEY, GROUP 1
2010: Roselle Park 1, Keansburg 0 – at Roselle Park
Roselle Park was the 4th seed and Keansburg the 6th.
Panthers fell to New Egypt 9-0 in Group 1 semifinal
at Rancocas Valley Sports Complex in Eastampton.
Roselle Park, after a 7-4 start, went on to finish 17-6.
Pitcher: Senior RH Taylor Zengewald
NORTH 2, GROUP 1
2003: Roselle Park 1, Cedar Grove 0 (10 inn.) – at Livingston
Becky Riccitelli tosses 1-hitter – a 7th inning bunt single.
Roselle Park was the top seed and Cedar Grove the 7th.
Panthers defeated Emerson Boro 1-0 in Group 1 semifinal
at Morris Hills.
Roselle Park went on to defeat Gloucester City 2-0 in the
Group 1 final at Toms River East.
Roselle Park produced one of its best records ever at 24-1-1.
Roselle Park began the season with a 0-0 tie at Immaculata and
then won eight straight before falling at Gov. Livingston 4-3
in 14 innings in a game that Becky Riccitelli struck out 18.
Roselle Park concluded the season with a 16-game winning streak
and also produced 22 shutouts.
Pitcher: Junior RH Becky Riccitelli
NORTH 2, GROUP 1
2002: Roselle Park 3, Cedar Grove 1 – at Union
Roselle Park was the 2nd seed and Cedar Grove the 4th.
Panthers fell to Saddle Brook 2-1 in 8 innings in Group 1 semifinal
at Northern Highlands, Allendale.
Roselle Park finished 23-4.
Pitcher: Sophomore RH Becky Riccitelli
2018 NORTH 2, GROUP 1 SOFTBALL
SEEDS: 1-Roselle Park. 2-Ridgefield. 3-Hoboken. 4-Brearley.
5-Bloomfield Tech. 6-Belvidere. 7-Becton. 8-Secaucus.
9-Dayton. 10-Arts. 11-Glen Ridge. 12-New Providence.
13-Weehawken. 14-Technology. 15-Warren Tech. 16-University.
Roselle Park 14, University 0 – at Roselle Park
Secaucus 6, Dayton 4 – at Dayton
New Providence 12, Bloomfield Tech 9 – at BT
Brearley 11, Weehawken 1 – at Brearley
Hoboken 19, Technology 1 – at Hoboken
Belvidere 10, Glen Ridge 0 – at Belvidere
Becton 17, Arts 10 – at Becton
Ridgefield 17, Warren Tech 1 – at Ridgefield
Roselle Park 1, Secaucus 0 – at Roselle Park
Brearley 12, New Providence 0 – at Brearley
Belvidere 13, Hoboken 0 – at Hoboken
Ridgefield 4, Becton 3 – at Ridgefield
Thursday, May 24
Roselle Park 6, Brearley 0 – at Roselle Park
Friday, May 25
Belvidere 3, Ridgefield 0 – at Ridgefield
Tuesday, May 29
Roselle Park 7, Belvidere 2 – at Roselle Park
3-PEAT CHAMPION: Roselle Park